Social Science Chair, Barbara Boschert, on Continuing the Classroom Experience Online

Dr. Barbara Boschert

Social Science Chair, Barbara Boschert, on Continuing the Classroom Experience Online

Modeling after the institution's perseverance is chair of the Social Science department, Dr. Barbara Boschert. She, as well as other faculty, had to distill the structure of the classroom environment into a virtual experience.

Social Science Chair, Barbara Boschert, on Continuing the Classroom Experience Online

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4057 - Melody Dixon

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Fri Apr 24, 2020

Dr. Barbara Boschert

Governors, including Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, resorted to placing temporary closures on schools and shelter-in-place orders on their states to mitigate the prevalence of the coronavirus.

Although cases are continually being confirmed in the state of Mississippi, Coahoma Community College recognizes that the crisis does not pose a threat to the learning process. Modeling after the institution's perseverance is chair of the Social Science department, Dr. Barbara Boschert. She, as well as other faculty, had to distill the structure of the classroom environment into a virtual experience.

In the Q&A below, Boschert expounds on how she transitioned as an instructor.

How did you adapt to the full transition of online instruction?

Boschert: Transitioning from day courses to online meant thinking about what we do in class and trying to match online assignments to students' expectations and to the requirements of the syllabus. I am thankful I had a lot of activities to choose from developed over the years. Because we discuss historical readings in class, discussion boards were important in the transition and actually worked better in the online format because every student, even the shy ones, have the opportunity to share their thinking.

Dr. Barbara BoschertProjects and short papers are also important in students connecting history to their life. For example, Western Civilization II students are completing projects connecting a modern problem to the French Revolution. Many are comparing the leadership of Louis XVI and Trump, especially in a time of crisis and connecting it to our financial and societal situations as a result of COVID-19. Teachers also must think about a student suddenly confronted with all online courses. This is a tough transition and requires some flexibility on the part of the teacher and the student. Students should be able to reach teachers quickly through email, by telephone, or text.

What is your advice to students who are about to take their final exams to complete the semester but may be experiencing stagnation and depressive moods due to circumstances stemming from the coronavirus crisis?

Boschert: Everyone is under stress with the uncertainty of COVID-19. Plus, students are dealing with a transition to online, which they did not expect or want. Students are feeling overwhelmed by our world turned upside down, and the pressure of sitting in front of a computer instead of being in a class. In addition, some students are still working or have lost jobs leading to feelings of insecurity that we should be sensitive to. Additionally, many are struggling to find technology or to share with parents and siblings in this strange situation. There is a lot of pressure on our students. I am thankful that we have an extra two weeks for students to catch up.

My advice to students is to get started. Sometimes that is the hardest part, and it is human nature to put things off, especially when there are other stressors. To meet the deadlines, I advise students to try to spend the time they were actually in class online each week to complete assignments or to jump online even if it is only for 10 minutes. Time management and flexibility are key here. The most important thing is to not give up!

How are you supporting students and maintaining the comfort of the classroom setting without being able to continue the learning experience in the classroom setting? In other words, how are you helping students adjust to virtual learning?

Boschert: Students were forced to quickly learn time management, an important online skill. Many have said that they are too distracted at the house to work. To assist with this transition, I try to be readily available by email, phone, and conferences in Canvas. Students also need our encouragement because this is a difficult time for everyone.

Contact CCC personnel for tips on transitioning to eLearning: http://www.coahomacc.edu/programs-of-study/educational-outreach/elearning/contact/index