CrowdSourced: Professors share their experience transitioning to online classes

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Professors had tough transition to online classes just as their students did. However, they are utilizing technology to make the best of the situation.

We as students know about our experience transitioning to online classes, but what did professors experience? I asked three professors about their transition to online classes and what they’ve learned since.

“Over spring break, we were asked by the President and Provost to move our classes to online or remote teaching. And that’s what I’ve been doing. It was a rush to get started,” Greg Eiselein, professor of English, said via email. “But now that we are into our second week of remote teaching and my students seem to be doing well, I am feeling less stressed about the new approaches we’re taking to teaching our classes.”

Greg Eiselein's home office.
(Photo courtesy of Greg Eiselein) Photo credit: Greg Eiselein

Eiselein noted that he’s used a variety of resources to enhance online learning, including “written out lectures, PowerPoints, short videos, discussion boards, etc. I do office hours by Zoom, FaceTime, telephone, email, or text. I like the discussion boards and seeing how my students respond to what we’re reading and studying.”

Greg Eiselein's online classroom.
(Photo courtesy of Greg Eiselein)

“IT asks you to rate how you feel about online teaching every time you request an appointment for help,” Angela Curran, visiting assistant professor of philosophy, said. “I started the week we came back from break, assessing my comfort level as a 9, but by the end of the first week, I was rating myself as a 7… I’m hoping my grade goes back up soon.”

Angela Curran's cat making an appearance on class slides.
(Photo courtesy of Angela Curran) Photo credit: Angela Curran

Anne Phillips, professor of English, said, “I really miss being in the classroom with my students. We have enjoyed outstanding conversations and built a strong rapport, and I so miss learning from and with the students.”

Like Eiselein and Curran, Phillips has used a variety of online techniques to help students learn.

“I’ve tried hard to maintain communication,” Phillips said via email.

She’s working one-on-one with students as well as hosting class-wide discussions. Students are also working in small groups to complete a “team journal” discussion. Phillips is staying engaged by responding to discussion boards and remaining available to talk with students.

Hearing from professors showed me that the transition to online learning was not ideal or easy for any of us.

Eiselein noted that it’s been difficult to find time to complete work while also teaching and raising two boys. Additionally, he’s been “realizing how easy and convenient it was to have offices and colleagues around during work hours.”

But on the flip side, there is light in every situation. Each of the professors remain dedicated to helping students in this strange and different time. They’re working to make use of the technology available, and they’re looking forward to the next time we can all be back in the place we “love full well.”

Olivia Rogers is the community editor for the Collegian, the vice president of the University Honors Program and a senior in political science. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and the persons interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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I’m Olivia Rogers, a junior in Political Science and Prelaw. I enjoy a good cup of coffee, witty television and acoustic music. I write because: “Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”― Madeleine L'Engle