Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Course: SOC 507 – Race and Ethnicity in Canadian Society
Strategy: Informal check-ins
Rai Reece is an educator who feels most at home in a physical classroom where she can feed off the energy of her students. When moving to remote teaching, she wanted to preserve this energy. To do this, she went through a process of trial and error.
Rai realized early on in Zoom lectures that the traditional way of teaching didn’t work as well as it did in person. She tried to incorporate activities that would keep her students interested and engaged in class.
An activity that Rai brought into her virtual classroom from her previous teaching experiences was setting aside a chunk of time for informal check-ins. This window of time allowed students to organically discuss current events they were interested in.
The topics discussed during this time assisted students in easing into course content while talking about political and social issues that mattered to them. Some of these conversations were difficult to have but to Rai, discomfort is growth. She believes she is doing a good job if students leave her class uncomfortable.
She also incorporated a pass/fail grading system for reflection writing. This allowed students to deeply reflect on their answers instead of being under pressure of getting a good grade. Other activities she brought from the classroom to the virtual space included playing music at the beginning of class and showing videos to provide practical examples for theoretical concepts.