Professors are a considerable part of a student’s success. A good professor can put together a challenging yet engaging lesson plan that helps students get the most out of their education. At the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB), students have the opportunity to work with hard-working, career-experienced, and intelligent professors every day.
Last March created a new challenge for professors. The ongoing pandemic has lasted longer than anyone anticipated. Professors had approximately one week to transition their material entirely online during the 2020 spring break. The transition for professors from paper to online was not a smooth process. “I had to change a large proportion of the syllabus for Spring 2021,” Professor Joseph Yoo, an assistant professor at UWGB, explained. Yoo says, “Because I’m teaching Journalism, I believe that students have to “go out” to cover their stories. However, I could not ask my students to do so because of the pandemic. I could not fully satisfy these shifts because still, I believed that teaching Journalism courses virtually was not the best way.” Professor Bina, a senior lecturer Professor at UWGB, said, “Converting in-class material to online was especially difficult for instructors who had numerous hands-on or team projects.”
Being at home 24-7 made for a difficult adjustment for teaching virtually. Bina explains, “I tend to work too much, so I needed to set limits. But the greatest challenge of all was coping with the isolation, missing my students, and the interaction. I also missed my co-workers–a lot! There wasn’t anything we could do except wait it out, and that was very hard for me. I’ve adjusted, but the fall semester was tough.”
Professors were driven to keep going even through technical issues. Professor Bina shares, there were so many delays, for example, playing simple embedded videos.” Professor Yoo says, “I was really nervous that there would be technical glitches.” Ultilmently, he “felt lucky that there were no significant problems.”
Through the challenges and unprecedented events, professors continued to lead students. “The pandemic experience has helped me focus on a bigger picture—and adapt to whatever each day brings. I’ve learned to be more flexible and patient. I’ve learned that I can be clearer about expectations—and often need to be in a leaner communication environment.” says Bina. Yoo says, “Anything can happen in my life, including my job. I became more alerted, prepared, and flexible. I always tried to think of plan B simultaneously. For example, if there was a crash on Collaborate Ultra, I asked my students to join Microsoft Zoom.”
“Professors did an exceptional job putting together classes virtually,” says Matthew Knoke, a Journalism student at UWGB. This couldn’t have been accomplished without their dedication to students and willingness to adapt. Moreover, using their one week of vacation during the 2020 spring break (Right after the outbreak of COVID-19). Professors created an entire outline for the semester. They continued to be there for their students to maintain an interactive class session that best fit with their virtual teaching methods.
“Sometimes it’s “tough love,” but there is nothing I want more than my student’s success and happiness. I know where they’re headed. I’ve been there. So, anything I can do to help them prepare for the journey after graduation is so important. That’s my motivation, always. Sometimes it’s simply a gentle nudge that makes all the difference. I hope my students felt some motivating nudging during this very tough time!” says Bina.