Q: How have you connected with students during remote classes?
A: I used synchronous Google Meets and, instead of meeting with a full class, I met with small groups of five for 15–20 minutes each. The small groups provided a less stressful platform for asking questions and giving feedback. The smaller groups also allowed me to ask students how they are feeling and how they are coping with their situations. The students seemed much more comfortable interacting in smaller groups for shorter periods of time.
Q: How did you connect your class plans with the pandemic?
A: In my professional writing courses, I focused even more on practical readings and scenarios that can help students to think critically and creatively amid the circumstances we are all facing. I asked students to imagine themselves in leadership roles within businesses in their communities. In these leadership roles, they came up with innovative ideas that could help their local companies stay open and thrive during moments of such uncertainty. The students were asked to come up with new ideas, beyond the prescribed federal safety guidelines, and articulate those ideas to their employees, the press, and through marketing materials. Some students utilized their own family businesses, previous and current employers, and places where they frequently patronize. I suggested that if they can safely do so, they should consult businesses with their ideas in hopes that they may be implementable.
Q: What do you hope your students are gaining from this experience?
A: The project is meant to simulate a “real-time” scenario that encourages students to think about leadership, effective writing and communication, creativity, and critical thinking — all of which will be valuable skills beyond this course.
Q: What does your home office look like?
A: Fairly clean and organized; I cannot be productive in untidy spaces. My office is also my rehearsal room.
Q: How have you spent your free time during the stay-at-home order?
A: I maintained a similar schedule as I did prior to the stay-at-home order. I wake up early and now do home exercise, then jumped on calls with students, attended on-line meetings, did my grading, then work on my own research projects. I go into the office at least once a week so I can get out of the house. I work out a little bit longer and move a bit slower during workouts, which accounts for the “free time” that I probably could have during the day. I do not practice my French horn nearly enough, although I stare at it daily!