PHOTO BY SARA SHEIKH / THE SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
Virtual learning has been a burden on everyone, and students aren’t afraid to voice their opinions on the situation.
However, voices that are often left out are professors—how are they dealing with this?
Professors have it just as hard as us students do. They did not sign up to teach black screens all day. It is very challenging to be a professor right now with the lack of participation from students, new restrictions, and the constant course alterations.
The Sputnik shared a Google Forum with students to highlight their favourite professors. One common response Dr. Darell Chuck Hillier.
Dr. Hiller is a Laurier professor of almost twenty years and is currently lecturing four classes this term. His class ranges from three hundred to four hundred students in total.
Dr. Hiller has learned some tips during this online experience that have helped him and his students learn.
“I try to reduce the amount of talk time as much as possible whereas if I was on campus, we could have a full, almost three hour class,” said Dr. Hillier.
It can become tiresome for students to sit in front of a computer screen for a very long time so this is very helpful.
“On zoom I try to take more breaks and condense my information to under an hour [….] my goal is to always have forty-five minute sessions being the longest,” he said.
Professors also need to adjust course work to the realities of virtual learning.
“I change the assignments to make them less stressful because [students] have less resources to access. So trying to create assignments that are not as resource dependent like where students will need a library or access to a lot of campus resources,” said Dr. Hiller.
He believes that assignments need to be more creative this term to engage students.
“In one of my classes this year I’m doing a creative project rather than an essay where students can create something; a piece of art or something like that.”
These little changes are fun ways to do school work are very helpful and all of us students are extremely grateful that our Laurier professors are doing everything they can to make it engaging.
The Sputnik conducted a google forum, which anonymizes responses from students on the subject of their favourite professors.
“He is so transparent and easy to communicate with. He is always thorough on his expectations and does everything to make sure his students understand the concepts being taught,” said a student of another popular professor, Andrew Welsh.
Another student said, “he is understanding, encouraging and knows how to reach out to first year students.”
Andrew Welsh, Laurier Professor
Professor Richelle Monaghan is another student favourite.
“I love her teaching style, she has the students best interest in mind, she’s willing to answer any questions her students have, I find she does a really good job explaining the course materials in her lectures,” said one student.
Richelle Monaghan, Laurier Professor
Professors are not just helping students out, but they are also helping out other colleagues as well.
“Because I taught in the summer, when it came to the fall, a lot of the professors hadn’t taught this summer so myself and others did a few meetings with other departments to give tips on what we learned from teaching online in the summer […] it seemed to be a very positive thing for others,” Dr. Hillier said.
There is a lot going on behind the scenes that students do not know about but enjoy the result of it.
“My co-professor, Dr. Frose was giving out lots of information on how to use break out rooms because that was one of the things professors really wanted to know how to navigate and how to do really well,” Dr. Hillier mentions.
There is so much support being spread throughout the Laurier community and this just goes to show how much hard work and dedication our professors are putting to make online classes as fun and educational as possible.
Students appreciate and respect all of our Laurier professors for all their hard work and dedication.