With more and more schools and universities closing due to the Coronavirus pandemic striking the world, the demand for online learning and distance education is rising.
Drs. Adrienne Brundage and Craig Coates recently led two webinars for the Entomological Society of America for both students and teachers to help them adjust to the online distance learning format that is in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coates said the ESA was looking for instructors willing to help hold a webinar to teach faculty and students about how to teach and learn in an online format.
Some of the resources available to teachers and students include images of insects and specimens using digital microscopy, lists of links for suggested equipment and software to purchase that are required for online learning, and resources on pedagogies and how-to teaching online materials.
“The primary goal was to provide some positive encouragement that it can be done, there are ways to adapt in-person lectures and labs to an online environment, and provide some tips on how to do so most successfully for our students,” Coates said.
Brundage has been teaching several of her classes online and wanted to share her experiences with others that are working on transitioning their face-to-face classes to an online format.
“I’ve taught online for around a decade now, and I have made A LOT of mistakes along the way,” Brundage said. “Since everyone is being thrown into this situation with little prep now (and when I made my mistakes I had the benefit of time!) I was hoping I could help them out and make the transition a bit easier.”
Both have heard positive responses from the total of 80 student and teacher students that made up the sessions on Thursday and Friday held via WebEx.
“I think both the students and the professors enjoyed the presentation,” Brundage said. “I really want to create a situation where we’re sharing resources and helping each other, because we will all benefit.”
Coates said this was a great way to help those to transition to an online format and to share learning experiences, as well as to create a central repository for instructors to use.
“I think was a good opportunity for those that may have suddenly been thrust into an online teaching role to get some ideas and best practices from our experiences,” he said. “We are also creating a repository with shared resources, videos, photos, rubrics, teaching plans, case studies, etc, that faculty can use at other institutions and share into themselves.”