Language Teaching Studies Blog Site at the University of Oregon

Faculty reflections on our remote term


LTS faculty and staff really care about their students! We want you to know that we are here to encourage and support and celebrate what you are doing. We are also reflecting on what we are learning from this term, from you our students, and from the situation itself of suddenly teaching and administrating online. Below are some quotes from us about our reflections so far.

I’ve learned a lot this term, and I’ve genuinely been really encouraged by my experiences with remote teaching. I have designed and delivered quite a few asynchronous courses, but the real-time Zoom sessions have been new to me. As much as I value the face-to-face classroom experience, I’ve enjoyed this term largely because it has been so experimental. I feel like both faculty and students have been very creative this term. Sometimes good things can come from trying times!

— Andy Halvorsen

I sure miss the classroom and interacting with everyone f2f, but I have enjoyed experimenting with various Zoom and Canvas tools (and look forward to using some of these in future courses). I admire the flexibility, effort, and responsibility students bring to class despite the challenges. I learn so much from them as well as from communicating with colleagues about their remote teaching experiences—what a great community! The LTS social hour (I go to the Friday afternoon one) has been a relaxing and fun way to get to know students and faculty better—I discover things I never would have if it weren’t for these Zoom sessions!

— Trish Pashby

I have learned how truly creative and resilient our students and faculty are under less than ideal circumstances. It has been inspiring to watch how quickly they adapt, how hard they work, and how engaged they remain. It is an honor to work with them.

— Julie Sykes

Although it may take a few emails back and forth (which can be tiring) in place of someone dropping by my desk for a quick chat, it’s been a relatively painless transition to remote work. Implementing and guiding students through new electronic processes which were previously done on paper has been fun and insightful. I truly hope what we’ve learned from this experience will have a positive impact on our procedures, making them easier for students when we’re back on campus. While my ability to assist students hasn’t changed working from home, I sure do miss seeing them and can’t wait for the day our main office is bustling again!

— Kayla Robinson, Graduate Coordinator

This has been the most unusual term I’ve ever seen. One thing I’ve enjoyed is the weekly informal meetings with the students where we catch up and sometimes play games together. I actually feel I know my students better through these informal meetings, and its been a blast laughing together.

— Robert Elliott

What I have learned from teaching remotely this term: Notes to self:

  1. I can do “the impossible” and I’m not in this alone; collaborate!
  2. Don’t waste time and precious energy resisting what can’t be changed; rather, spend that energy on what I can still do and what I can adapt and learning new tools.
  3. I am having to do what I ask my students to do every day–to be brave and take the risks necessary for genuine learning; I always say that teachers need to try something hard and new every year or so to remember what it feels like to “be on the other side of the desk.”
  4. I am still me and that is what I bring to the classroom, no matter the platform. Inability to complete an activity one way opens possibilities for new ways to explore the material.
  5. Creating learning experiences is key.

— Laura Holland

This term I have learned that the LTS students are flexible and resilient! I have also learned that using partially “flipped” classes can be a helpful resource (whether we are engaging remotely or not).

— Kris Kyle

Sometimes timing is everything, and much of the time you have no control over what coincides with it. When we rolled out the latest version of ANVILL in the Fall (you were the first users) we had no idea that hundreds of teachers would be looking for a streaming media platform that works inside of their LMS. It’s been humbling and challenging these past 3 months to support language teachers on campus and afar as they try to find many different ways of showing and telling and connecting.

— Jeff Magoto

I have learned from this that while I regret not seeing everyone in person, I still get great energy from our interactions online. Granted, this term my interactions are the fun ones – the microteaching workshops, our social hours, and office hours – but the energy I get from staying connected with students and colleagues reinforces for me that teaching, or learning and collaborating together, is the right profession for me. I have also learned that we are adaptable, and that we are resilient indeed. I think we will look back on this period and be amazed at what we can accomplish even when we are caught off guard, distracted, or spending extra time under our covers to escape the world’s challenges. I love the expression ‘expand the pie‘, which is a term in business negotiations that refers to actively exploring new paths to common interests rather than defaulting to zero-sum compromises. Faced with remote learning, we don’t need to get stuck in a deficit mindset of how we are compromised; we can work in collaboration with technology to notice what we didn’t have before, like being able to meet up with everyone we want with just a click. Of course, I’m still really looking forward to having the choice again…

— Keli Yerian


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