Sheri Copplestone teaches Computer Applications in Conestoga’s School of Trades and Apprenticeship, and facilitates the Entrepreneurial Program for Newcomers. She is also involved in the School of Workforce Development’s Academic Upgrading program.
In March 2020, when COVID-19 shifted education remotely, many faculty sought ongoing assistance from Teaching and Learning. From last Spring to present, we offered series on Delivery Skills for Teaching, Creating Active Learning Activities, Psychology and Neuroscience, and many others.
“Through the workshops I took with the department, I’m much better equipped to engage a class in active learning, and understand issues that students are experiencing during these uncertain times,” reflects Sheri Copplestone, who teaches Computer Applications in Conestoga’s School of Trades and Apprenticeship.
“Two series I enjoyed were Delivery Skills, which focused on the importance of proxemics, your voice, and body movements while teaching facing a camera, and the Psychology and Neuroscience series,” she said. “It was interesting to learn how the brain operates when facing stress. It encouraged me to identify and work with students facing challenges in their academic or personal lives, and also discuss issues teachers have, as well.”
Students have benefited from Sheri’s newfound knowledge. In Spring 2020, she taught a remote three-hour class from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., and students stayed for the entire time. She found by dividing course outcomes into more sizable components, that students remained focused and succeeded.
“When I made myself available to students for the full three-hour class, allowed them freedom to work on projects and ask questions, and provided active learning opportunities, they felt more inclined to speak up during lessons and work closely together,” Sheri recalls from this particular class.
After completing workshop series, Sheri structured primarily student-led classes. If a student asked a question via Zoom chat, she would ask them to share their screen for others to follow along, and so they could provide input where necessary. When Sheri’s computer froze during a synchronous class one time, a student shared the slide deck with the rest of the class while she troubleshooted the issue, showing her how more cohesively and productively her class functioned.
To other faculty teaching remotely, Sheri suggests remaining on Zoom for the entire length of a scheduled class, even if they teach synchronously for one hour. Immerse yourself in Professional Development activities and expand your knowledge, as the educational landscape is constantly changing.
In 2021, Teaching and Learning is offering various workshops to equip faculty for teaching remotely. Please visit our website, as well as Professional Development, for updated offerings and registration opportunities.