My ideal classroom would have a strong sense of community. I initially expected the “community” aspect of class to be absent for the upcoming semester, as it is online. After working as an Online Learning and Technology Consultant over the past two months, I have come to realize how wrong I really was. I haven’t met any of the people I work with in-person and still, I feel extremely connected to them. Although going online is a new and different experience from what we are used to, it is just adapting and learning how to do things differently. Therefore, my ideal classroom, online or in-person, would be with supportive classmates that encourage one another to do their best. :)
In order for any class to be “ideal”, online or in-person, for me, the professor needs to be engaging, likeable, and approachable—it all stems from there. The content is irrelevant. If the professor does not present the material well, whether that be their tonality and way of speaking, or by choosing an inappropriate medium to educate us through (i.e. reading off PowerPoint slides), I will become disinterested. In fact, the classes in which I have enjoyed and learned the most from, have been those with an excellent professor, and not the ones where, going into it, I found the content most appealing. No matter the course, no matter the material, the quality of the professor dictates the quality of the class. [Duncan Alderdice]
In my ideal classroom, I would want a supportive and educational environment that puts an emphasis on the accessibility of resources. Many incoming and returning students may be stressed out regarding the operation of classes, quizzes/tests/examinations, office hours, etc. I can honestly say that I felt the same way before collaborating with professors over the summer to curate content for courses that will now be online. While working with my OLTC group, I found myself solving problems that I never even thought would occur due to the transfer to an online platform. The following are examples of questions that we tackled, and they may be questions that you have as well:
How can students work together on group projects given that many students will be in different time zones?
How will office hours operate efficiently if the majority of the student body is not on campus?
With the new features available on Moodle, students can now take a quick questionnaire and be separated into groups based on time zone. Professors can now also host office hours via Microsoft Teams. The Scheduler feature on Moodle will make it easy to sign up for a specific office hour time slot. And these are just a couple of the problems we considered! Overall, this access to resources given the distance, required accommodations, etc. will be key to the implementation of a successful year.
I am very excited to see what our new virtual classrooms will look like. See you soon! [Jenna Reichard]
-The Business group