“Panic-gogy”: Teaching Online Classes During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Some colleges like Duke, Black-smith, MIT, Georgetown and Grinnel are starting to offer students the option of taking their spring courses successfully / fail under the circumstances.

In this age of virtual reality classrooms and AI-enabled automated tutoring programs, why are digital education experts asking teachers to simplify?

“Everyone is freaked out,” says Sean Michael Morris. He is part of the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado at Denver and leads the Digital Pedagogy Lab, an organization focused on digital learning, technology and social justice.

Sean Michael Morris says that in this unprecedented time, “Recognizing that we are also human, we also have to understand this together is extremely important. The idea of ​​being able to just transfer what you are doing from a classroom to a classroom. environment has its own problems, but trying to do it in the midst of a pandemic is a whole different matter.

Morris and other colleagues have an ironic name for what they are doing right now: “Panic-gogy” (for panic + pedagogy).

On some level, Panicgogy means understanding the practicalities of students. Some only have smartphones. Some have family responsibilities. Some have been sent home and need new housing, new jobs and new health insurance. Teachers may think the easiest option would be to switch to the video chat course, but for all of these practical reasons, “it’s not really realistic to think that students can just show up and start taking lessons.” at the same time every day in an online environment, ”Morris says.

Morris also suggests that professors don’t just rely on the university’s official software, called the Learning Management System, but make themselves accessible in as many ways as possible while maintaining privacy: Facebook , Twitter, email, WhatsApp group. And make sure that the students also have the opportunity to be connected with each other.

He also suggests that professors familiarize themselves as much as possible with all types of help offered by universities and communities: from counseling to emergency loans and other financial aids.

Robin DeRosa is director of the Open Learning and Teaching Collaborative at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She said, “I think the first thing is that we are not create online courses or convert your face-to-face courses into online learning. Really what we do is try to provide a sense of caring to our students and try to build a community that will be able to work together to meet the learning challenges that we have. “

DeRosa points out that creating a great online course can take a year of development and collaboration between people with different skills.

“So if people think that in three to five days they’re going to revamp their course and build a super amazing online platform, it’s probably unlikely to happen,” she says.

DeRosa suggests that we ask students for their own suggestions on the best ways to stay in touch.

“The idea here is really to help our students feel included in the process of rethinking education for a difficult time.”

DeRosa also suggests that professors integrate COVID-19 into the curriculum.

“Whatever field you teach, I think it’s worth asking how this field is being affected by the public health crisis and what contributions could the field be making right now to help people in their lives. communities. “

While the focus can sometimes be on technology, tools, and logistics, Morris, of the University of Colorado at Denver, says what’s really required of professors right now is compassion.

“The real skill that Panicgogy requires is a kind of critical compassion, if you will, the ability to look at the situation as it really is. Figure out what’s going on, how you can function in it and how you can be compassionate about it. Also.”

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