Joint 56th Annual North-Central/ 71st Annual Southeastern Section Meeting - 2022

Paper No. 42-6
Presentation Time: 2:50 PM


CLARY, Renee M., Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University, 101D Hilburn Hall, Mississippi State, MS 39762

Online teaching and learning existed decades before the global pandemic; online effectiveness for student learning had been researched and documented. However, some instructors questioned whether online learning was optimal since “geosciences are best taught in the field.” When the global pandemic necessitated quick migration to online instruction, our previous research helped to streamline the process. A SCALE curricular approach (Self-directed activities, Community-based learning, Active learning strategies, and incorporation of Local Environments) provided guidance for effective pandemic instruction, although we lacked the time needed for successful online course development. Not only did instructors struggle, but also their students who lacked online experience and essential time management skills.

When traditional courses returned to campus, e-techniques continued to have value: the e-syllabi, electronic assessment weighting, and e-announcements allowed students to follow their progress in the course and receive friendly reminders for due dates. Additionally, the return to traditional course instruction provided helpful insight for instructors of online students: Student dissatisfaction was minimized when direct conversation with traditional students was again possible, since much can be misinterpreted in an (impersonal) email. A pandemic benefit is that enhanced virtual meeting technologies allow online instructors to “meet” face-to-face with distance students and bring a personal note to learning. Circular interchange of techniques between online and traditional classroom environments resulted in e-learning benefits now regularly incorporated in on-campus courses, and face-to-face (virtual) meetings being used within online courses. However, some instructors reflect that their workload has increased since they are trying to incorporate both online and traditional methods within the same course.