Equity in Action Spotlight #1

Faculty Info

Name: Colleen Nevins
Academic Program: Nursing
Average Number of students per section: 47
Featured Course:

  • NRS 303 Pharmacology of Nursing Practice I*
    *It is a 1.5 unit course that is introductory to pharmacology that has been designed in a blended format of asynchronous, synchronous and lab

Had you taught online prior to the rapid shift to virtual instruction in response to COVID-19? 

Yes, I taught online for 2 years before the shift in March.


What practice or technique have you implemented in your course?

A practice that I have implemented is construction and posting of an agenda for each synchronous session scheduled throughout the semester.  The agenda title format is: AGENDA | SYNCHRONOUS MEETING TIME: DATE | CONTENT FOCUS FOR THE SESSION.  The agenda consists of the Zoom link and password, followed by five Zoom session guidelines, and then an outline for the session.  The agenda is developed as a google document and housed in a folder for the course as Zoom Session Agendas, with the link to the agenda posted in the Canvas course within the module covering the content.  Each synchronous session has a separate agenda, however, one could construct a single page agenda listing current to oldest synchronous session agendas by date of meeting.


Why did you choose this approach?

In preparing for delivery in the classroom, I always constructed an outline for the session using notes on my tablet.  Upon arrival to the classroom before starting the teaching-learning session, I wrote the outline on the white board which was communicated to the students as we started the classroom session.  During my summer session in THRIVE, the concept of posting an agenda was proposed.  At first an agenda seemed a bit formal, yet I’ve always thought of each teaching-learning session as a mini-seminar.  So the transition to posting the agenda within the module and prior to the synchronous session felt like a natural progression for the purpose of fostering greater transparency in teaching and learning.  Posting a session outline in the form of an agenda has been of benefit to both students and faculty through transparent communication of the session focus and addressing  objectives that are intended for the session, as well as allow for time at the beginning and end for student driven questions or needs for clarification beyond the focus for the day.


How have students responded to this practice or technique?

Student responses have been positive. I have found that students readily adapted to using the agenda to stay on topic as well as locate the zoom link on the agenda so there is no hunting or wondering what is going to be covered.  They know what the focus will be ahead of time versus a broad, unknown, e.g., chapter 5.  The content delivery allows for clarification and questions along with application to content, and the conclusion also allows for additional Q & A along with reminders for upcoming assignments.


Describe any change in your own philosophy of teaching and learning due to virtual instruction?

If or when courses resume to face to face, I will continue this practice because it fosters greater transparency and guidance for student learning.


What’s your advice to EDUCATORS preparing for a virtual Spring 2021?

My advice to educators is to remember that the most important element is student learning of content which is driven by course learning outcomes. How an educator gets there is a balance between your comfort and student learning styles.  I have found that organization, clarity and fun in learning is the foundation, and the tools should be used or customized when useful to the format and delivery.


Which 3 resources and/or tools do you consider essential to effective virtual instruction?

  1. An organized Canvas course that includes Homepage introduction, Syllabus page, Modules for each content area, etc. 
    Resource: Teaching & Learning Innovations: Keep Teaching
  2. Micro-lectures – a great way to drill down on key concepts to which students find meaning and Padlet for students to share and synthesize information that ties to content
  3. Teaching in Higher Ed podcasts with Bonni Stachowiak

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