In response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Waseda University shifted online for the Spring semester of 2020. It was a difficult adjustment for professors and students alike. Yet, my general impression is that we all rose to the occasion in order to continue to teach and learn together.
For my lecture class I prepared video lectures that students could watch on-demand. Although I missed seeing my students’ faces, I got to know their personalities through their work and their comments on the online learning platform. I created opportunities for student interaction through peer-review workshops, and I was very happy with the results.
I held seminars as live class meetings using Zoom. Particularly in the smaller classes, I think it is better if everyone turns on their videos when participating in Zoom classes. (Personally, I had fun selecting virtual backgrounds in Zoom.) When we can see each other, it facilitates communication. Whether online or offline, it is so important for students to speak up and participate in classes, ask questions, and discuss their ideas with their classmates.
Of course, I miss being on campus and meeting face-to-face in the classroom. But I think with contributions from students and professors, we can make the best of the online learning experience.
Professor Kellam meeting with some of her seminar students on Zoom: