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We’ve discussed at length in this blog the unique and incredible experience Zoom can bring to the classroom. But what does that look like in practice? How do educators at 5,200 schools around the world really use Zoom in their classrooms? For the answers to these questions, we turned to Gail Illich, Mathematics Professor at McLennan Community College. The college is located in Waco, Texas, but Illich teaches from home in Nebraska. She works with students and colleagues remotely, using Zoom as her “tool for creativity and engagement.” Here are some examples of how she sets herself and her students up for success.
Illich offers office hours as a reoccurring Zoom meeting. She provides a link to the meeting in her online syllabus. Her office hours are available to all students and colleagues – both those online and on campus. She makes heavy use of screen sharing and co-annotation during these meetings. She has also (with permission) recorded and uploaded some of these sessions to YouTube so that students can learn from watching others go through the same lesson. Here is an example of one of those videos. And to the right is a picture of Illich at her desk during office hours.
Illich requires two group oral exams a semester held over Zoom. Students can connect from any Zoom-supported device straight from their homes. The high quality video allows the students to verify their identity, learn from each other, and practice their verbal and non-verbal communication skills while answering questions. At the top of this post is a screen shot of an oral exam.
This is a picture of what Illich looks like to her students in the classroom – she is shown on the projector screen. But teachers aren’t just needed in the classroom. Illich travels around campus via laptop to department meetings, professional development activities, and student recruitment events. Her colleagues just patch her in to a laptop when they arrive at the meeting or event in person.
That doesn’t seem so hard, does it? With the help of a couple colleagues and the enthusiasm of her students, Illich has been able to be present at McLennan Community College campus and reach students far and wide without ever leaving home.
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