Resilient Teaching, Creative Adaptations: Sweetland Faculty and Students Learn and Write Together in Remote Environments

T Hetzel’s Minor in Writing Capstone Class

Beginning in mid-March 2020, when the growing COVID-19 pandemic caused schools and colleges to close, faculty and students around the country entered into “emergency remote teaching” mode as they quickly shifted their in-person, often hands-on, pedagogical strategies to a distance-learning format. Many faculty had never taught in online settings before, and we all scrambled to get up to speed on the affordances of Zoom for online class meetings, of video tools like Kaltura for recording video lessons, and the possibilities of social annotation tools like Perusall and for fostering robust remote discussions of readings. Despite the stress and the real hardships faced by many students and faculty as they transitioned to this “new normal,” silver linings were also discovered as GSIs and faculty created new communities of online practice to share what they were learning about remote teaching and to support each other in making the transition to “resilient” online teaching

Sweetland faculty and student staff made this transition in a variety of ways, and we have gathered here some of their reflections. Shelley Manis and Shuwen Li discuss creative adaptations they made in their teaching plans and student responses to them; Louis Cicciarelli shares the experience of moving the spring Dissertation Writing Institute online; Larissa Sano and Ginger Shultz highlight the innovations made by Sweetland MWrite undergraduate Writing Fellows in their support of students in STEM classes; undergraduate Peer Writing Consultants Jordyn Houle and Julia Van Goor reflect on moving the Sweetland Peer Writing Center online; and April Conway offers appreciations for her students’ resilience and energy in meeting the challenges of this new learning environment.

Naomi Silver
Associate Director, Sweetland Center for Writing