Smeal Academy: Fall 2020 Readiness – Week 10
The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges in teaching during this time. Throughout the semester, we will be sending emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.
This week we share resources and strategies that will help promote empathy and engagement. Research shows that we must start with our own self-awareness to be empathetic and engage meaningfully with those around us (Newman, 2018).
It is important to affirm that you are also impacted by the present circumstances. Before a class session begins or before engaging in an activity, reflect on your own emotional state and expectations: Here are some questions you may ask yourself at the beginning of a day:
What are my present circumstances? How might they impact/inform my approach to teaching and my expectations of learners today?
What do I know about my students’ experiences and present circumstances in my class? How might this knowledge impact/inform my approach to teaching?
Where am I in my personal tolerance level right now?
Pausing and reflecting for a short time every day can go a long way toward helping you engage and empathize with your students.
Consider Using a Student Poll or Survey to Gauge Student Needs and Circumstances
It is also helpful to provide a way for students to communicate their needs and circumstances, seeing this is such an unprecedented semester. Consider using Zoom polling or Canvas surveys to determine whether you have any students with extenuating circumstances that might affect their learning. You can even add points to a graded survey and use it as part of the student participation grade. Here’s an example Canvas student well-being survey for your reference.
Self-paced Student Tutorials
The following iStudy online learning tutorials for essential college skills were designed to help students identify their strengths and growing edges in the following areas:
Nemwan, K. (2018, April 11). Can self-awareness help you be more empathetic? Greater Good Magazine.
Strickland, M. & Tatusko, A. (2020, August 7). Facilitating learning when students are under stress [Webinar]. Penn State University.
Upcoming Live Sessions
- Engaging Students Through Assessment: (A session designed as a collaboration between TLT and eLDIG)
How can you engage your students through online assessments (both formative and summative)? This session covers the changes you can make to your assessments to take advantage of the online environment. Topics include setting expectations for online assessments, managing student stress levels, determining the most effective delivery method in your teaching context, adapting both formative and summative assessments from in-person to online formats, and alternatives to online exams. Join us Wednesday, August 19 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. via Zoom. https://psu.zoom.us/j/710269538?pwd=THlOeHlobTRFbmtTL2RoZG1VbjNGZz09
- Engaging Students Synchronously: (A session designed as a collaboration between TLT and eLDIG)
Are you interested in improving student engagement in your synchronous online classes? This session covers best practices when engaging students in synchronous online settings. Topics include how to help students engage with the content, you, and their fellow students, as well as how to best adapt in-class activities to the synchronous online environment. This content applies to both blended and online courses. Join us Thursday, August 27 from 11 am to 12:15 p.m. via Zoom. https://psu.zoom.us/j/710269538?pwd=THlOeHlobTRFbmtTL2RoZG1VbjNGZz09
NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.
Tips of the Week