Faculty adapt during the pandemic

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NDSU faculty from all parts of campus are using innovative ways to keep students engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adaptability is an important key to successful teaching.

For example, Erik Hanson, assistant professor in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, is finding creative ways to meet the needs and expectations of his students.

“I'm trying to learn constantly throughout this semester,” Hanson said. “I am not shy about asking students about instructional techniques they've experienced in other classes. In addition to helping me teach my class more effectively, I find this information to be inspirational regarding the great things NDSU instructors and students are doing.”

NDSU’s use of the HyFlex system allows students to attend classes in person or virtually. The method is keeping the wheels of higher education moving forward. 

“Students can engage in three ways: in-person, virtual/synchronous and virtual/asynchronous,” said Hanson. “I tell students that their learning is probably best if done using one of the ‘live’ methods, but students are empowered to choose the ways of learning that suit them best. For example, students can attend class in-person but go back and watch the recorded class session to clarify a confusing point or to review for an exam.”

During class, Hanson regularly asks his students true/false or multiple-choice questions based on recent class content. The practice encourages interaction and keeps the class interesting and entertaining. In this way, Hanson can judge the understanding of students who are learning remotely.

Hanson also sometimes looks at recordings of his classes to review and critique his efforts. “The recording of class sessions this year provides opportunities to improve my instructional style by ‘breaking down the tape,’” Hanson said. “I don't do it a lot, but I never had a chance to do it previously.”

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