The two central lessons I found to be extremely helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic have to do with being more open and adaptive to online learning and finding ways to be uber responsive, flexible and caring with my students.
Lesson #1: Maintain an attitude of adaptation
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 really tested the resolve and adaptability of many college professors, staff and students. One of the biggest lessons I learned as a college professor from the COVID-19 pandemic has to do with embracing the right mindset in times of peace and crisis. In hindsight, I believe my general attitude or openness to trying online learning and my willingness to adapt really saved me during the COVID crisis. Despite my initial reluctance and initial criticisms over our College’s historically heavy online administrative oversight for every online course, I adapted and began teaching social sciences courses both online and on site in 2015. I was asked by a department chair to develop curriculum for a new applied psychology online course for the College.
Surprisingly, I found that there were strengths to both modalities. My attitude shift and new training experiences helped me to improve my on-site teaching and reinvigorated my interest in teaching. Transitioning to the Canvas learning management system within 18 months in 2018; having spirited pedagogical debates with my colleagues; and teaching our students using both online and hybrid formats helped me see the value of constantly being adaptable, intentional, and open to trying out new online tools to better engage our students in our current digital world.