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What I Learned From Teaching During the Pandemic

Teaching during the pandemic was a bit of a challenge at times, but I always am ready for one! One of the things that I noticed during the pandemic and attempting to shift everything to a virtual format is that not all students are online learners. I felt that my material needed to be created for both traditional online students and traditional face-to-face students. That presented a challenge. I used this opportunity to record PowerPoint lectures, provided students an opportunity to work together in a virtual format while still utilizing traditional writing and discussion board activities.  

I know that recorded PowerPoints have not been typical in a traditional online class. However, since I took the time to record them all, I now give them to all online classes. I also give them to my virtual, Zoom-based classes. I have been able to conduct my virtual classes in a flipped classroom format. I no longer feel tied to lectures and power points.  We have been able to do small and large group class activities. More application work to really learn how to apply what it is the students are learning about. There are so many fun and creative websites out there to use in a virtual format. I have taken advantage of many of these to better engage with my students and increase engagement among them.  

Another way I helped my students connect in an online course was through video-based assignments. I received positive feedback from students in my class that they were pleased to be able to see one another and know who it was that they were responding to in the traditional discussions. Some colleagues asked about privacy issues when asking students to record themselves Obviously, different students have unique situations. Having alternative assignments is something I commonly practice in my teaching to address accommodations. I also feel that flexibility, understanding, and empathy has gone a long way in helping my students achieve success in their classes over the past year.

About the Author

My name is Catherine Matson and I have been teaching for over a decade in the Behavioral Science Department, Health Services Department, and Human Service Department online and in the classroom. I teach or have taught at a variety of 2-year and 4-year institutions throughout the Chicagoland area. Some of the colleges are: at Triton College, Moraine Valley Community College, College of Lake County, Wilbur Wright College, Harper College, Aurora University, Roosevelt University, Columbia College of Missouri, National Louis University, Purdue University Northwest. McHenry County College, Waubonsee Community College, and Rock Valley College. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, Masters degree in Counseling and PhD of Philosophy in General Psychology. In addition, I have 18 credit hours towards a Masters in Higher Education. I worked counseling parents and children of special needs and behavioral problems for a period of time when I was first starting my teaching career. In the field, my current role is crisis intervention. I complete assessments for children and adults that are suicidal, homicidal, struggle with addiction, or having behavior issues.

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