In light of social-distancing guidelines and the challenges many political science departments face with moving classes online, APSA’s Virtual Teaching Workshop, which was held June 22-July 10, 2020, was well-timed to address ‘Innovative Methods in Online Teaching.’
This pilot workshop with 13 participants featured presentations and discussions from political science faculty on their experiences and best practices in online teaching. Dr. Rebecca Glazier (University of Arkansas Little Rock) and Dr. Veronica Reyna (Houston Community College) led the workshop.
Workshop participants were tasked with presenting the lessons they had learned from their experiences teaching political science courses online and providing resources that would benefit the political science teaching community. The workshop provided an avenue for faculty to engage on strategies they have adopted in transitioning classes online and the methods adopted during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and feedback or reflections on the impact of these strategies on effective teaching and learning. Many of these resources are also useful for graduate students and faculty outside political science dealing with the somewhat novel challenges of teaching online this fall.
As a means to increase access to the resources built and gathered at this workshop, APSA Educate, APSA’s online library, will feature blog posts by participants, gleaned from their contributions to the workshop and what they learned and developed from interacting with other participants. Some of the topics addressed include how to correct the retention gap between fully in-person teaching and fully online teaching by sustaining real human connections with students while teaching online, how to customize curriculum and course content to fit fully-online teaching, using anonymous data (surveys) to assess participation, effective use of email, discussion boards, chat and other forms of digital communication to improve information dissemination and student engagement. Some of the more salient topics tackled at the workshop include issues with educational technology and student access to resources, course design and social justice, dealing with student anxiety about online learning, assessment, effective use of learning management systems, and strategies for maintaining active classrooms.
I was lucky to be a part of the APSA Virtual Teaching Workshop run by @rebeccaglazier and @VeronicaLaReyna with a number of brilliant and inspiring people (too many to tag here!) but be on the lookout for more great resources soon!
— Stefan Kehlenbach (@CogitoErgoDoom) August 4, 2020
The workshop highlights many challenges with online teaching and learning that will stay with us during these troubling times and beyond, but also provides political science faculty with an invaluable wealth of resources to enable them to weather the uncharted waters that instructors in political science are sure to face teaching undergraduates this fall.
- Creating a Safe Space for Online Discussions Assignments and Syllabus Ideas [Julie Mueller, Southern Maine Community College]
- Creating Online Debates Using Kialo Edu [Charity Butcher, Kennesaw State University]
- Intro to American Government Syllabus with Annotations about Open Pedagogy Approach [Shawna Brandle, Kingsborough Community College]
- Managing Time in the Online Classroom—A Guide for Faculty and Students [Malliga Och, Idaho State University]
- Peer Review Activity and Worksheet [Danielle Hanley, Rutgers University]
- Reviewing Your Course for the Human Touch: A Self-Reflection Exercise [Eric Loepp, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater]
- Social Justice Checklist for Online Course Design [Veronica Reyna, Houston Community College]
- US Foreign Policy in Sub Saharan Africa project [David Monda, City University of New York-York College]
- Using Mail Merge to Send Personal Emails to Students, Templates Included [Rebecca Glazier, University of Arkansas at Little Rock]
- Why Political Scientists Should Embrace Multi-method Grading [Stefan Kehlenbach; University of California Riverside, Riverside Community College, Irvine Valley College]
APSA Educate, a new online library for political science teaching and learning resources, features member-driven conversations around innovations, challenges, and best practices in political science education. Check out participant blog posts:
- Avoiding the Scramble—Setting Up Your Fall Classes for a Last-Minute Online Transition Without the Headache [Malliga Och & Lydia Wilkes]
- Building Community Online [Danielle Hanley]
- Communicating to Build Rapport with Online Students [Rebecca A. Glazier]
- Using Virtual Gallery Walks to Build Community in Online Classes [Charity butcher]
- Why Political Scientists Should Embrace Multi-Method Grading [Stefan Kehlenbach]
APSA hopes that the resources from this workshop will not only assist faculty in adapting quicker to synchronous and asynchronous virtual modes of instruction but will help foster more communication around innovative online teaching.