Professors adapting to quarantine

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Biology professor Dr. James Engman circumvents the distance between his zoology students by sending crayfish to them via mail so they can learn to dissect.

Kelly Stiles, Features Editor

Change is something that Henderson students and faculty have become quite familiar with during the last few weeks. Along with the rest of the United States, professors have had to quickly adapt their in-person classes to reside solely on the internet. This change has proven to be a both a challenge and a learning experience for educators and their scholars.

 

“I am learning to teach asynchronously,” assistant professor of communication Dr. John Price said.“Some students are struggling because of their lack of technology or internet connection.”

 

Without campus access, many students have differing access to technology. While some students may have internet and a computer with a web camera where they are while others may have neither. Adjusting to their pupils’ needs, professors strive to make courses as accessible as possible by a limited amount of technology.

 

“Thankfully Henderson has trained us well on how to use Canvas,” assistant professor of Spanish Dr. Mary Jane Dunn said. “This has given me an opportunity to find innovative ways to teach my students.”

 

Dunn has integrated more internet resources into her Spanish courses in hopes to provide “the quality education my students paid for.” She is enlisting the foreign language learning website Babbel into her Spanish conversation course to help substitute the lack of face-to-face discussion. On Babbel, one can listen to Spanish podcasts that focus on teaching vocabulary. Dunn plans to use Babbel in her future classes as well.

 

“Overall, I’m really pleased by the work ethic of my students,” professor of biology Dr. James Engman said. “Despite these changes, I hope students feel like they are getting a good education.”

 

Professors who teach classes that require labs are facing opposition which requires creative solutions. Engman teaches a zoology course which involves students dissecting different creatures. Bypassing the distance barrier, Engman sent his zoology students packages of crayfish to be dissected. The students would then follow detailed instruction videos and send pictures of their dissections to Engman for grading.

Biology professor Dr. James Engman circumvents the distance between his zoology students by sending crayfish to them via mail so they can learn to dissect.

“I have learned how much I really like to see my students,” Dunn said. “Even though we can Zoom sometimes, it’s different. I miss them.”

 

Dunn has grown more appreciation for class time. While she likes the ease of being at home, she finds she is better able to gauge how her students are doing with their work when she can help them in person. Dunn believes that it will just take more time and flexibility to learn what her students can and cannot handle in this mode of teaching.

 

“We’re all figuring this out together,” Price said. “Professors want to help, but you have to tell us. We are not psychics.”