As COVID-19 brought closures around the world, many educational institutions sought out new ways to educate and connect with students. As Southern Utah University prepared for the fall 2020 semester, technology updates were made to all classroom spaces to ensure faculty were able to reach students, whether or not they were physically present in the classroom.
Funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, SUU installed cameras in every teaching space on campus. Unlike a traditional webcam, these cameras provide greater control to the faculty members, allowing them to switch angles or zoom in and out on the board, so remote students can see more of what is happening in the classroom. While the in-person classroom experience cannot be completely replicated through the use of technology, the updates come as close as possible to that experience during this time.
As we move forward with many unknowns, Matthew Weeg, director of the Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning at SUU, recommends three things for faculty teaching next spring.
“Be flexible. We don't know when the next curveball will be thrown our way, and building some flexibility into our classes helps absorb the bumps along the way,” said Dr. Weeg. “Second, focus on building community in the classroom. Our students need that more than ever right now, especially those participating remotely. Learning is a social endeavor, and students who feel disconnected from their professors and classmates will have a difficult time staying engaged. Finally, be compassionate. Our students are dealing with a lot right now, and a little compassion and understanding goes a long way. I would also encourage faculty to be compassionate towards themselves as well.”
Matt Weeg Associate Professor of Biology / Director of the CETL
Specializing in neuroethology, brain behavior, and neuroscience