Paper No. 19-2
Presentation Time: 8:20 AM
LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE CLASSROOM, LAB AND FIELD RESEARCH DURING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS WITH APPLICATION TO FUTURE GEOSCIENCE TEACHING AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
This presentation describes Baylor University Geosciences department lessons learned in teaching and conducting research during COVID-19 restrictions in water-related classes and field research. Baylor University had mandated COVID-19 requirements for classrooms, field labs and field research. These restrictions challenged us to deliver instruction in creative ways and to limit the possible exposure and impacts to COVID-19 on the classroom and field research. The primary classroom COVID-19 practices consisted of cleaning personal classroom space, social distancing between students in class, and wearing masks. The most significant teaching tool used to meet COVID-19 restrictions was classroom instruction delivered by video streaming and then recorded for future use. Zoom meeting software was the primary video streaming media used throughout the semester and found to be easy and effective. Classroom management and communication was accomplished with Canvas software as the primary class information depository for the syllabus, schedule, and assignments. Baylor’s COVID-19 field lab classes protocol was developed with other university student gathering guidance that made field work challenging to accomplish. With such restrictions we had to bring the field to the classroom with PowerPoint images, maps, and instrument demonstrations to simulate the outdoor experience. COVID-19 protocols limited field research and impacted student and faculty interaction that changed the original research scope, so field research scope had to be changed. Quantitatively documenting the significance of COVID-19 safety practice effectiveness is difficult, but we did not have any COVID-19 impacted students that could be traced back to our class, lab, or field work indicating our COVID-19 field procedures were effective. Our learning is in-class and field instruction is more effective than streaming or recorded lectures. Students at home with siblings, pets, and other interruptions made a difficult environment for classroom learning. The availability and implementation of COVID-19 vaccination was the key milestone that allowed us to get back to pre-COVID-19 classroom, lab, and field research work. Finally, we’ll discuss COVID-19 practices that might be helpful for improving future teaching and research work.