Elizabethtown College Professors Optimize Remote Learning with Modern Technology
With the new challenges presented by remote learning, several Etown professors have altered their teaching styles to help their students adapt to the new circumstances.
Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Michele Kozimor is using one of her favorite projects to keep her students engaged while learning remotely. In her Population and Global Issues course, students use Twitter rather than a textbook to stay up to date about the current world issues. By using a common class hashtag, #etownpops, students can share their interactions with scholarly organizations or social movements with Dr. Kozimor and the rest of their class, which encourages them to become engaged global citizens.
“I think the glue that held us together and kept us informed of what was happening was Twitter,” Dr. Kozimor said. “Even when we were remote, we still had our community.”
Dr. Kozimor has also altered the overall design of her assignments to better suit online learning. After taking a few online courses in the Michigan Summer Graduate Program this summer, she understands how hard it can be to stay focused on Zoom for long periods of time. Keeping engagement high is one her main goals.
“It’s important to think about how to make your meetings seem valuable,” she said. “Zoom meetings should be a place that students want to come and learn.”
Dr. Kathryn Caprino, assistant professor of PK-12 new literacies in the education department, has changed her curriculum to prepare her students for the challenges they may face in their own future careers in education. She continuously updates the material in her Language and Literacy Development in Early Childhood course to include the newest teaching methods.
One of the new resources Dr. Caprino has introduced in her course this semester is called “Bitmoji classroom.” This engaging virtual space mimics a classroom and provides different interactive ways that teachers can link resources. These “classrooms” can be uniquely customized and made as detailed as the teacher desires. They typically include a “bitmoji” or cartoon version of the teacher that students can interact with.
Emily Flach, a junior Early Childhood Education major, is enrolled in Dr. Caprino’s course this semester. She has found the addition of Bitmoji classrooms interesting, as it is directly applicable to her future career. She is also appreciative of the other ways Dr. Caprino has altered her course to better suit the current situation.
“She’s been phenomenal at trying to engage with us and have us engage with each other,” said Flach.
After spending the summer keeping an eye out for the newest online teaching methods, Dr. Caprino found countless online resources being used in current early childhood classrooms that she can now share with her class. For her, these last two semesters have been a learning experience, and she hopes others have seen the benefits of it as well.
“I hope to see the educational world think about how to build upon or extend the positives that can come from online learning once we are out of the context of COVID-19,” she said. “Even if a class is not completely online, there are many aspects of online teaching that can complement more traditional learning delivery models.”