While students adjust to new remote learning environments, faculty at New York Tech are finding new and creative ways to deliver courses in virtual modalities. Some, like Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Anand Santhanakrishnan, Ph.D., have also discovered key benefits in their new classroom environments. A week into New York Tech’s all-remote class delivery, Santhanakrishnan shared five observations with The Box that accentuate the positives of online teaching:
Empowering Student Participation: “Students who were too shy to raise questions in class can now message me privately, asking me to repeat something they did not understand. Since everyone else is muted, they feel more uninhibited. On the Zoom platform we are using for instruction, students don’t mind revealing their identity to me. They likely don’t want to be anonymous to me but still want some anonymity with each other.”
Nobody Sits in the Back: “In the in-person classroom environment, students sitting in the back would not get my attention as much. Of course, I always tried to make eye contact with everyone, but invariably the ones in front were easier to focus on. The same kind of thing occurred with the size of my handwriting on the board. Students in the back were at a slight disadvantage compared to those in the front, but this problem has now dissipated. Zoom offers a sort of fairness so everyone can have the same experience.”
Rewind and Replay: “Since I record the class and share it on Google Drive, students have the benefit of replaying parts of the class if they are unable to follow. Even those who now joined the class a little late don’t feel they missed everything.”
Technology Supports Teaching: “Using a whiteboard to write on tablets allows me to provide an ‘in-person class’ feeling, which helps maintain a sense of normalcy for the students.”
Attendance is Easy: “A minor added benefit, but a positive nonetheless, is knowing who shows up to class. I don’t have to worry about or spend time taking attendance: I just have to see who is logged in.”
Among the many resources the university’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is offering to faculty members who are adjusting to their new virtual education space include a “virtual tea” from 4 to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursdays (and a “happy hour on Friday from 3 to 4 p.m.) to debrief and share how things are going.
Have a story about your online teaching or learning experience? Send us your observations and story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you have an online teaching resource or idea to share, email us at email@example.com and we will share with the CTL and online.