Student, General Studies; and CTL Student as Pedagogical Partner
Yarin Reindrop, a General Studies student and CTL’s Student Consultant, shares two reflections below: 1) her personal reflection on her online learning experiences during the pandemic and 2) a reflective report of her conversation with her peers on what they would like their instructors to know about being a remote learner.
Online Learning: A Student’s Perspective
Reflecting on her online learning experiences during the pandemic, Yarin explores the following questions: What is it like to be a student in an online environment? What are the positive aspects of online learning? What is the role of technology in online learning? What has been helpful and what motivates learning in the online space?
Supporting Remote Learners During the Pandemic
Yarin interviewed her peers and discussed what they would like their instructors to know about being a remote learner. Below, Yarin shares her reflection on her conversation with her peers and presents practices that are helpful for supporting students in their remote learning.
Reflecting on the year since we transitioned to online learning, I realized some Columbia students have spent more time taking classes online than in person. That inspired me to reflect with my peers on the year that has passed and identify some experiences we have in common. I interviewed 8 peers and asked for written responses from others, all science majors. In regard to the teaching and class environment, common themes arose—compassion, communication, and flexibility were key in positive experiences shaped by active engagement, a feeling of accountability, and motivation to both connect to peers and the instructor and to perform well in class. My peers and I appreciate when instructors understand how aspects of the course and class environment impact not only our learning but also the challenges we may have faced inside and outside of the class, many of which were intensified significantly this year.
During our conversation, we shared the things we would like instructors to know about what it’s like to be a remote learner. Below I have synthesized what my peers shared into a list of practices that help students feel supported in their learning.
- Compassion is always appreciated. This year has shown us the importance of learning beyond the need for academic performance and with that, many of us still had to endure challenges that we could not imagine facing a year ago. Therefore, more flexibility when it comes to deadlines, extensions, and more focus on learning-based assignments rather than performance-based assignments is appreciated.
- Incorporating more low-stakes assignments into the syllabus can be extremely helpful to balance our work and give students the opportunity to do well despite unprecedented challenges.
- Organizing learning materials and resources to be as accessible as possible—recording lectures, uploading course materials ahead of class, including useful links.
- Revamping curricula to make classes more relevant to the current changes in the world have been appreciated.
- Adjusting course plans to the changed academic calendar will help us navigate the overwhelming workload in such short semesters and make the learning experience more manageable and effective.
- Acknowledging the pandemic and the challenges it may still be placing on many of us gives us a feeling of togetherness and mutual understanding. It takes off the competitive pressure we constantly feel given current circumstances.
- Acknowledging how the world’s situation has deepened the effects of mental health, socioeconomic, disabilities, and how that might affect us in the classroom can be significant in helping students use appropriate resources and get the sense that there is consideration when appropriate.
- Encouraging and facilitating collaborative work to help students connect with their peers outside the classroom.
Tell your story. Learn from others.
What is it like to teach and learn at Columbia in 2020-2021? Share your hybrid/HyFlex or online teaching and learning experience.