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Teaching Psychology during Covid-19

  • Factors helping me make the transition from face-to-face to online: already using OER text, Moodle, I always text students all semester long , using various technology platforms every semester and in the Winter/Sp. 2019-weather was a good test drive…NMC cancelled or strongly suggested cancelling 3-4 times when our class met. We didn’t miss any classes due to having an alternative plan in place. Our online work then, was the opposite of now; early in the semester. That class took a bit longer to bond, which as a group we discussed and worked on. In the end, we were fine.
  • Faculty & students will never forget this semester, nor our bond with one another. I’ve asked my students what they’d put in a time capsule in early May 2020, to remember SP semester 2020? One example, recent data on sexual behavior during Covid-19 collected by the Kinsey Institute. Also, professional organizations/writers making comparisons to the beginning of the AIDS crisis, etc. and Covid-19. Mementos such as photo copies of stimulus checks, face masks, etc. We’ve also discussed other ways to document this historic experience; writing, art, music, photos/video, letters, etc. We’ve connected with history groups for what was done during 9/11, WW II, etc. All of this info. will be valuable to our NMC community.
  • I asked students how they were being their ‘bigger selves’ during Covid-19? Most of the students had exceptional examples; caring/teaching small numbers of children, nursing home/grocery/delivery jobs, phoning isolated seniors, delivering food, walking dogs, creating art for various platforms, making food for others, tutoring classmates, donating blood, etc. Equally, their classmates experienced deaths, money struggles, etc. this semester. I’ve seen students be more caring towards one another. Two students were going to drop, the students in the class, not me, convinced them to do otherwise. One student even gave another student a list of free strong Wi͏f͏i hotspots…that could be accessed from sitting inside a car in a parking lot.
  • I paired students to interview each other, right after we moved to online. I made sure they didn’t know their partner well. They also completed quiz work together. I saw them gain strength, perspective, from one another. The crisis seemed more manageable when brought to a smaller scale. In their projects, they’re also all participating in each other’s surveys, etc.
  • Most of our remote class meetings have been audio only. Our final class projects 4/30 will be video, too. I found students were far less distracted with audio only. Before deciding this, several students shared they were worried about showing their homes, privacy needs, tech concerns, etc.
  • I’m also sharing how other professional groups are dealing with Covid-19 issues. Such as human rights, business, health, etc. Most of the groups, I’m already involved with. I’ve invited students into my Zoom meetings. Excellent practical/internship experience.
  • Every week, I also post new free trainings (this week there’s one with the TC Children’s Advocacy Center) volunteer opportunities, mental health resources, student successes/challenges, etc. Many of my students like the free text national counseling site, text HOME to 741-741. I first tested it myself.
  • I’m pleased to share that my community guest speakers have joined all of our Zoom classroom discussions. Including, TC Mayor, Jim Carruthers. Speakers have also created current, specific 30-60 minute videos for our students. Amazing. I post photos of the speakers if we’re on audio only. The students have asked THE best questions, of any semester. Including our guest speakers has also helped them feel useful. Most class panels have included at least three guest speakers.
  • A few students commented on their overall boredom while being home. One student suggested that they all look at the free public offering of ancestry.com I was easily able to tie this effort into their curriculum. Most had a great time navigating and learning about their families. Some did the research with/for family members. Similar opportunities exist for students to post art/writing at various community sites, including the National Writers Series.
  • I think we all feel like we’re now guiding our students emotionally, as well as providing content. I’ve asked my students how they want to feel when this is over? What steps can they take now to accomplish that? Same with other goals/new skills, etc.? Many students are proud of learning new ways to manage their stress/anxieties. These skills will help them lifelong. Because Covid-19 has presented a high level of stress, they feel very confident that they can handle more than they thought they could.
  • Our weekly class meeting go at least two of our three hours. It’s an evening class. Attendance is 95%. I text their weekly homework, every week. I’m focusing on the larger concepts/info./assignments. The quality of the work is very good.
  • We’ve focus on what a face-to-face reunion might look like. Whenever that might be.This future focusing seems to lift their sense of loss, especially for those graduating from NMC or high school.
  • Due to confidentially, I ordered from Staples online, manila envelopes and bought postage to mail select hard copy student work back to the students. Envelopes can also be bought at CVS, etc. Other work I graded online. Students appreciated both.
  • This blurb is already long enough, though I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ve loved learning from all of the faculty/staff posts. I’ll close by saying that many of my more shy students, are more vocal online. The talkers have become better listeners. Everyone’s thinking and creativity has improved…and, their compassion.
    None of us have ever been in this exact experience before. For most of our students, it’s their first universally shared event.
    I’m both exhausted and inspired.
    How about you?
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