#MCTeaching&LearningSince1924 is part of an ongoing series about how teaching and learning are taking place at Morton College during the pandemic. Responses are edited for clarity and length.
Speech communication instructor Jason Edgar shares how he’s adapting to teaching online classes at Morton College. This is his third year teaching at Morton College and 16th overall in higher education.
With a summer to reflect, what you have learned about teaching online since the spring?
“My reflection about teaching online is that it is similar to face-to-face in every aspect, except it is computer-mediated communication,” Edgar observed. “Once I realized this was the only real difference, it allowed me to explore and expand my way of thinking about online teaching.”
What’s working better? How have you been able to reach students more effectively?
“Blackboard Collaboration and Zoom have been the strongest tools for both education and society as well,” Edgar noted. “Because of these two platforms, we can merge face-to-face with computer mediation.
“I am a big fan of both platforms and the students seem acclimated to their use as well. I have also utilized ‘Podbean’ to create a podcast called ‘Speech Class Audio’ to reach students that either miss class or are auditory learners.”
Any student success stories you’d like to share?
“Every student that passes speech class during the pandemic is a success story,” Edgar said. “Even the thought of ‘online public speaking’ as a class seems impossible to comprehend, but a significant number of my students, especially the Spring 2020 students, have pivoted well to online learning and faced the pandemic head on.”
What’s been the biggest challenge? How have you overcome (or begun to overcome) this challenge?
“The biggest challenge for any online teacher is 100 percent accessibility,” Edgar said. “If I teach a course on Blackboard Collaborate and a student does not have access to the internet at that moment, they are missing out on an authentic lecture that’s applicable to their projects, as well as real time to ask questions.
“However, the ability to record Collaboration classes and also produce an audio podcast version of the lecture makes for more work, but ultimately makes the material more accessible.”
What have you learned about yourself, teaching or your students since Morton College went largely online in March?
“In the face of a social distance pandemic, I can adapt quickly while also leading my students along the way,” Edgar added. “It may have been tough at first, but adapting and remaining vigilantly accommodating to students has shown me that I can maintain a high level of teaching in the face of the biggest educational jolt in history.”