As I struggle to move my three courses and 400 students from face-to-face instruction to distance learning I have been thinking a lot about how to go about it and what the implications are for different approaches.
- I am wrestling with issues like a desire to maintain academic integrity of my courses while being mindful of students’ humanity and their need to shift their priorities to more important things during this challenging time. There is no need to add to stress levels trying to maintain normality during times that are certainly not normal. And I’m mindful of existing inequalities – in life and in education – that this crisis is magnifying.
- I also have a deep desire to provide a valuable educational opportunity to students who want it – even if it means departing from regular course content and traditional ways of delivering it. This moment is actually rich with potential to illuminate the social forces at work that remain hidden to us during normal times. This makes it a great time to teach and learn sociology.
- Finally, I am striving to be mindful of my own limitations as I care for my family and strive to maintain my physical and emotional well-being. This episode is a reminder of our shared humanity and has exposed the limitations of our cult of individualism.
Here are three pieces that have impacted me most. I share them hoping that it will give students some background insight into my rationale and to help them frame the current challenges as a potentially transformative learning opportunity.
Faculty members are already stretched thin, and now they are being asked to do more. They should hesitate before doing so.
By Anna Kornbluh
I’m absolutely serious.
by Rebecca Barrett-Fox
By Karen Kendrick
Students aren’t having a real college experience. We shouldn’t pretend that they are.
By Allison Stanger