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Aida Osian: What I’m learning about remote teaching

February 08, 2021

In this series we share the reflections of faculty members who are discovering new teaching insights from and about remote teaching. Here’s what Aida Osian, the lead instructor for the Pre-Master of Digital Media Program (Centre for Digital Media) in the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, had to say.

What she’s learning

“Building rapport remotely can be a difficult task, but there are solutions, one of which is connecting with the student on a deeper level during one-to-one sessions. In other respects, remote synchronous teaching has improved: the flow of the course; students’ punctuality; the application of digital tools; and even group work in breakout rooms.”

What influenced her

“Digital media tools and the web platforms readily available for us have influenced me the most. As an example, using the Explain Everything interactive whiteboard gave me the opportunity to teach the class as if the students were present in person.”

What students are teaching her

“Students have taught me to ‘make fun’ of our sometimes slow internet connections, glitches and the ‘Zoom gaffes,’ which can be common, given the situation.”

What she’s learning that she will keep doing after the pandemic

“Making my lessons more visually enticing and preparing assignments with a clear step-by-step structure to eliminate any confusion. Remote synchronous sessions in different time zones don’t allow for a lot of clarification questions.”

Her biggest mistake in remote teaching and what she did about it

“Scheduling late-night three-hour courses (from 9:00 p.m. to midnight) and early morning one-to-ones from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. to match the students’ time zones. In Pre-MDM [Master of Digital Media], I’m teaching three synchronous technical language and communication workshops and courses, coupled with a set of weekly one-to-ones. I had to restructure the workload in a more productive way.”

The lesson that took her the longest to learn

“That it can be just as fun as in-person teaching and that the schedule counts. I need to give myself the opportunity to process what I have taught.”

What one of her students had to say

“Despite the negative impact of the crisis, remote learning has implemented a sense of patience in us all and it is a virtue that can be cultivated. It is helping us learn new ways to use technology and build networks and support already existing systems that will come in handy in the future. It has allowed me to learn to slow myself down when feeling overwhelmed and realize that I need energy for me first. Last but not least, understanding how to accomplish more by utilizing time proactively will remain a core learning with me after this pandemic, and I will never forget to plan for a new kind of future.” – Simranjot Singh, Pre-MDM Program

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