Four instructors shared their experiences with managing a hybrid classroom in a panel for faculty members this afternoon.
The panel was hosted by Sean Atkinson, the chair of Faculty Senate.
The four instructors — Clark Jones, Carrie Moore, Claire Sanders and Curby Alexander — discussed the difficulties and benefits they have faced this semester.
Jones, an instructor in the biology department, is teaching the microbiology of human disease with 72 people enrolled in the course. The lecture is by Zoom, and the labs are in-person.
Jones said he has struggled navigating the multiple components of hybrid learning.
“We have people doing lab simulations that can’t be in the classroom, those who have been isolated from COVID-19 and just trying to remember which week what they are supposed to be doing when they are not in the classroom and what they are supposed to be doing when they are in the classroom,” said Jones. “It takes a lot of effort to juggle that and to keep that up.”
Sanders, a senior instructor in the history department, said her biggest struggle is standing still in front of the classroom. She said during the first two weeks of classes, she had to learn how to adjust her teaching style.
“Just literally standing still, I just felt physically discombobulated,” Sanders said.
Zoom can have its complications, which has been difficult for some professors.
Sanders teaches her courses in Smith Hall and knows on Wednesdays, Zoom can be “cranky,” but has adapted to its difficulties.
“I am more comfortable with the technology now than I was in August, but I have also realized you can’t fight Zoom,” said Sanders. “If Zoom is going to be cranky, you have to live with the crankiness and work around it.”
Alexander teaches three courses of introduction to education this semester and said his greatest struggle was finding a face mask he could breathe through.
Although Alexander and other professors have had their challenges, they believe there have been enjoyable moments throughout the hybrid process.
“The most rewarding for me is seeing the students walk in the door and sit in desks and being able to visit with them before class. It may not sound like a big thing, but that has been for me personally, as just a person who likes humans, I have enjoyed that,” said Alexander.
Jones said he enjoys seeing the students’ faces throughout the week.
“It’ll be great at some point to get them all back together and give them a hug,” said Jones.
A hybrid classroom is set to be used again in the spring semester of 2021.