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Faculty Discuss the Trials and Triumphs of Students Returning to Campus

November 23, 2020
An instructor in a mask leads a class by showing an arm stretch on a student in a faceshield
Meaghan Clapp, MHSc, PA-C, a PA instructor, leads a skills class

Teaching clinical skills on campus to students who returned to campus during the coronavirus pandemic this fall proved to be full of trials and triumphs, according to faculty members who spoke during a recent Zoom event.

During “How We Did It: Returning to Teaching On-Campus,” held on November 18, Meghan Viveiros, an assistant professor of physician assistant studies, and Lesley Smith, an instructor of physical therapy, discussed how they’ve taught their respective on-campus courses this fall.

It involved separating PPE-wearing students into smaller teams in multiple classrooms or splitting them into pairs for hands-on training, conditions the faculty said proved to be quite beneficial.

“The students have been pretty understanding,” said Viveiros. “They’ve been grateful to have time on campus. Even if an instructor was not with them the entire time, they still had time to be together which has a positive effect.”

Increasing preparation before class, such as watching videos, allowed students to learn better and use their time more efficiently, said Smith. Both faculty observed a transition from peer learning to peer teaching when student groups that finished before others turned to helping their classmates.

Tony Sindelar, a senior instructional designer and teaching consultant, and Joyce LaTulippe, an instructional designer, spoke of how they helped faculty adapt teaching methods to accommodate limited time with students, noting that faculty members’ openness about the newness of the situation gave students a stronger sense of ownership.

Dr. Rania Karim, an assistant professor of physical therapy, also participated in the discussion. Dr. Lynn Foord, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy, moderated the event organized by Jessica Bell, the school’s director of the library and instructional design.

- John Shaw

Screen grab from the zoom session with some participant faces