Caring Faculty Through Online Learning

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Student Perspective

April 24, 2020 | Mena Runkle '23

During this global pandemic, it is hard for faculty and students to find a way to help each other out. But still, through it all, we have found a way. From many group meetings on Zoom to personally written emails – these are some of the ways teachers have been able to stay connected and help their students out whenever there is a time in need.

I talked to Assistant Professor of English Catherine Clifford about the subject and ways she has been able to help other students without actually physically being there.

Professor Clifford says, “It’s been important for me to remember that each of our students is coming to remote learning from very different circumstances. So, even though I still want to challenge students to produce good, memorable work and to engage with my courses, I have been trying to not create more work for them. The learning curve for using new apps like Zoom was steep for a lot of people, and most of my students are juggling five to six classes, each requiring new and different learning apps! I’ve, therefore, been trying to approach this whole situation with understanding for the inequities that exists across our student body. I love and value my students, and I’ve been impressed by their resilience. However, I’ve personally had a difficult time focusing on what I call ‘deep work’ lately, so I’m going to assume the same is true for my students. I don’t think I’ve sacrificed ‘rigor’ in these last few weeks, but I have taken more care to reach out and try to teach students as individual learners rather than collective learners.”

Professor Clifford takes a strong approach on not wanting to overwhelm her students, and, personally as one of her students, she has succeeded at that task. While Graceland students might be having a hard time staying together physically, Graceland always finds a way to stay connected, even if that means staying connected virtually. Graceland has some of the best and most caring professors, and Catherine Clifford is just one of those many teachers. During this global pandemic, we realize that no matter what, Graceland can get through it, we are the stronger force. That is truly what the power of together means.

via GIPHY

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