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Welcome to the New Year and the New Quarter!

Welcome to the New Year and the New Quarter. We’re so glad to see you! And we’re glad to be able to put 2020 behind us. The CTT blog is back with new contributors and new topic.

Happy New Year!

But let’s do a review of the past year first.

I was recently reading The Teaching Newsletter from the Chronicle of Higher Education. Becky Supiano, the author, began with, “Last spring’s shift to remote instruction was a remarkable moment in higher education. At the time, I marveled at the strangeness of talking with professors across the country — and even in other countries — and hearing the same experiences and emotions over and over. Neither instructors nor students were ready for online learning. They missed being on campus and in the classroom. Everyone was wrapping their minds around the reality of the pandemic.” You can read the entire newsletter HERE.

The CTT and eLearning rallied to provide multiple professional development opportunities to help faculty with the transition. We hoped that faculty who had never taught an online class would have sufficient tools to make this quick pivot, and those who had experience with online teaching would be able to spend time improving their classes, and that everyone would be comfortable using Zoom or Google Meet to make connections with their students, critical in the online and remote environment.

Faculty were most certainly engaged in their online coursework, and focusing on “getting it right,” but we didn’t always take into consideration that this was a big shift for students as well. In her article, Supiano reports on some things she learned from student interviews:

  • A well-designed online course can be a big adjustment
  • Some classes are barely happening
  • Many students are comfortable talking about their mental health. But that doesn’t mean they’ll tell instructors they’re struggling.

What are students at EvCC telling us?

In a survey conducted by eLearning during the summer of 2020 we asked students, “what is most critical to your success?” Their top responses included:

  • That you can easily navigate your online course (organization is clear, expectations are transparent)
  • That assignment instructions and grading criteria are clear and seem fair
  • That you feel like your instructor cares about you and your success
  • That you know where to go to ask for help
  • That the course content connects to your goals and life experiences

When we asked whether students felt they received clear and consistent feedback on coursework in either the spring or summer classes, they responded:

  • 49.2% felt their received clear and consistent feedback
  • 42.4% felt that in some classes they received clear feedback, and others they didn’t
  • 8.4% felt they did not receive clear and consistent feedback

What are some things we can do to improve those numbers? How do we move from a deficit mindset to building capacity? Not just our own capacity, but that of students as well. Can we reveal the hidden curriculum the hidden curriculum that “consists of the unspoken or implicit academic, social, and cultural messages that are communicated to students while they are in school” and help students develop a sense of belonging?

We will be sharing more information in this CTT Blog about how to address some of the challenges facing students. For now, you can learn more about Student Well-being by listening to this Podcast from Inside Higher Ed called “The Key.” Earlier episodes are also available on this site.