As college students embark on a fall semester like none other, so do instructors. The pandemic challenged both to succeed in an online setting, but now that the initial stress is over, it is time to do more than sink or swim. It is time to build a steam-liner.

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Student engagement in an online or blended setting can be challenging, but as a freshman writing faculty member at Berkeley College, while studying computer-based formative assessment for my dissertation, I have discovered several tools to help first-year and transfer students engage in the learning material both synchronously and asynchronously. These tools help students display their learning easily and creatively.

● Zoom Class Sessions
● Google Forms
● Screencast-o-matic
● Google Drive

First, I have learned that holding weekly or biweekly Zoom sessions gives students consistency, collaboration, and connection.

Dylan Wiliam, known for his work in formative assessment, stated in Embedded Formative Assessment (2017), “…the thing that really matters in feedback is the relationship between the student and the teacher. . . Ultimately, when you know your students and your students trust you, you can ignore all the ‘rules’ of feedback. Without that relationship, all the research in the world won’t matter.”

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About the Author:

Professor Jennifer Moschella, Berkeley College English Department, began teaching at Berkeley College in 2014. Along with fellow Berkeley College faculty members, she recently presented “Combating COVID-19 in the Virtual Classroom: Using Our Digital Toolbox to Sustain Student-Faculty Relationships, Engagement, & Active E-Learning across Disciplines” at the Virtual 2020 APC Innovation Summit Excellence. Access. Affordability. in July 2020.

During her career at Berkeley, Moschella also worked with the Berkeley College Teaching & Learning Commons (TLC) to create and implement professional development workshops on Formative Assessment and The Inverted/Flipped Classroom. She is the founder of the Mamas & Papas student support club.

Ms. Moschella is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. Her research focuses on the Design of Learning Environments, essentially about the use of technology-enabled formative assessment in the Critical Writing classroom. Prior to joining Berkeley College, Moschella was a middle school language arts and literacy teacher, and curriculum writer, in addition to coaching soccer and volleyball.

Moschella earned a BA in English/Writing and MA in Teaching Elementary Education with Honors from Fairleigh Dickinson University.