For the first time in the history of DIS, all courses are taking place remotely. By implementing new teaching strategies, and with flexibility from our current students, DIS faculty have found dynamic ways to continue their courses online. Hear reflections from four DIS faculty:
Silvia Dragomir, Sustainability Program
“From my end, I have been so impressed with the student’s dedication and adaptability during remote learning. Most of them have had the willingness to go deeper into each week’s topic, and contribute thoughtful insights to our discussions.
The online part of the semester is broken up into five weeks. Each week mainly starts with a small presentation video made by me, followed by the literature (readings/viewings/podcasts) and a group discussion via Zoom or Canvas within their smaller final project groups. The week ends with either an individual creative journal, or a group project presentation. After the Friday deadline, they have access to each other’s group work for peer review.
Simply breaking the class into smaller groups has allowed for smaller ‘classrooms,’ where students can talk to each other on a weekly basis on a specific topic. It’s a way we’ve been able to keep the community alive.
There are of course challenges here and there, but overall their energy and enthusiasm to ask questions and strive to find solutions truly inspires me.”
Mikael Fuhr, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program
“In person, my Innovation & Entrepreneurship Core Course is full of activities, so I am trying to find new ways to do some of these. For instance, all team members have recorded themselves delivering an investor pitch for their startups. I watched those recordings while Zooming with a professional pitch coach, where we then recorded our feedback for the students.
In Innovation & Entrepreneurship, my students are building their own startups. After returning to the States, I asked them — as a way of exploring the new peculiar situation — to showcase their ‘Minimum Viable Products’ (MVPs are what startups use in a simple way — to test their product) in the form of explainer videos on Instagram. This way, they get realistic feedback from potential users.”
Maja Popovic, Architecture & Design Program
“In my remote learning for my elective course, Adaptive Re-use in Europe: Cities and Buildings, even low-tech strategies are working very well. I’ve managed to have a guest lecturer on acoustics that recorded lecture in PowerPoint. Simple discussions online cover the weakly readings, serving as a platform for students to share inspirations.
So far, the discussions have been richer than ever. I can really see how truly inspired my students are, despite everything, and how well they can still express themselves in a very precise, eloquent, and meaningful way.
For my Core Course, Architecture Design Studio, some students find it challenging to communicate the design process without using words, only drawings. However, this is a great opportunity to practice decision making and communication during the design process — things they will need in the real world. “
Natalia Landazuri Saenz, Biomedicine Program
“I’ve made an effort to incorporate current events as much as possible into my courses. The current crisis couldn’t be more relevant. Last week, students in my Translational Medicine: The Power of Biomedical Research Core Course held a very active online discussion with a focus on clinical trials currently underway to treat COVID-19.
For remote learning across my courses, I am using a combination of strategies to facilitate my communication with the students as well as peer-to-peer communication. These include discussion forums, recorded lectures open to written comments, online quizzes, surveys, and exams.
Most of the teaching and learning is asynchronous, but I hold some group Zoom sessions to see how everyone is doing and to answer any additional questions the students may have.”