Live online lectures, virtual classroom chats, and recorded lessons and videos, are just some of the ways Nottingham College teaching staff are adapting during lockdown.
A Level Physics Lecturer, Steve Goodings, is one of the team of dedicated teachers at College, supporting students as they rise to the challenge of working remotely from home. We caught up with him to find out how it’s going.
My students have adapted extremely well under the circumstances and have continued to work really hard. At High Pavement we encourage independent learning, because it’s really important that they are prepared for the transition to university. Students naturally want to learn, and it’s mine and my colleagues’ job to teach, guide and support them along the way.
As teachers, we’re all having to adapt too. Like many others, I’m managing my lessons alongside having my partner and baby daughter at home with me. In fact, a few times, midway through a lecture, I’ve had to explain to my students ‘that’s my daughter you can hear in the background’. In these unprecedented times, we’re all just having to try our best.
How's remote learning going?
Fortunately, I’ve always embedded online learning into my practice, so it’s been a relatively simple transition for me and my students. The only difference now is, instead of looking at me in front of a board in the classroom, they are looking at a recording of me. And this is working quite well, because students can pause me as they go along and revisit a topic when they need to. I encourage my students to work at their own pace, and I find that it works well.
How are you all communicating?
Students may feel isolated without the bustling atmosphere of College, and peers around, but I try to encourage good communication between students in the class, and they all know that they can contact me if they need any extra help.
I can write the answers out on my tablet and upload as a pdf. I am able to annotate this as if I was right next to them in the classroom, and record a video of the screen and my voice if necessary.
My students are able to comment on our ‘class wall’ which is like a flow of content, publicly on some class material, or to me privately on an assignment I’ve set. I can then answer any questions they have, and if needed I can upload a video/personalised answer sheet, that only that student can see.
How are you motivating your students to stay positive and not give up?
I have fostered this approach to studying since the students first set foot in my classroom. I don’t spoon feed them and they work very hard. Physics is a difficult subject and students need a high level of resilience to study it. One of my favourite sayings is: ‘If you are not getting something wrong, you are not trying hard enough.’
We’ll be hearing from Petru-Mihai, one of Steve’s students, next week, to see how he’s finding studying from home.