Takeaways from Back to School Better Virtual Conference
Author: Audrey Wick is a full-time English professor at Blinn college in central Texas.
Although we may be socially distant, we are not socially isolated. This was evident at the 2020 Back to School Better virtual conference, where hundreds of educators, administrators, Cengage authors, and other thought leaders gathered to prepare for the fall semester.
Don’t worry if you missed it! You can view recordings and access the conference online at any time. For top tips and tricks to use in your course, read on.
A Renewed Focus on Wellness
The conference featured keynote addresses from experts who shared strategies to prepare educators in the COVID-19-impacted semester.
Jonathan Brennan, coauthor of On Course Strategies for Creating Success In College, Career, and Personal Life, opened day one with his session “Engaging and Empowering Students Through Zoom.”
These practical tips for reducing digital fatigue can be easily implemented, and they can be done immediately. We should all remember the 20-20-20 method to reduce eye strain, as we will likely spend more time in front computers this fall.
Zoom: Empowering and Engaging Learners
Faculty are the “First Responders” to Classroom Disasters
Dr. Janet Zadina, cognitive neuroscientist, shared a rich presentation on mental health. It focused on stress-related coping strategies including the 4-7-8 breath method to stop anxious thoughts.
You can access Dr. Zadina’s resources for free or read her blog “Brain Bites”. Her Coping with COVID-19 page provides resources for faculty. She views educators as “first responders to students in the classroom”, so being familiar with available tools can help students cope will ensure a stronger academic performance.
More timely topics to explore
Are you interested in peer-tested learnings on related topics? These sessions are available as an additional session:
Robert Yagelski, Academic Writing for Student Success and Well-Being in COVID-19 Era
Constance Staley – SMART Ways To Pivot-Proof Your FYE Classes
Essie Childers: The Resurrection of Discussion Forums
Engaging Mobile Devices by Shelley Rodrigo and Susan Miller-Cochran
Student Engagement in the Land of Zoom – Lisa Boragine
Christine Harrington – Dynamic Lecturing
Alfred Lara: Stress Management 101: Effective Strategies to Manage Changes, Challenges and Constraints
There’s more! You can view all the sessions in the Back to School Better series whenever you like.
Visit the All Access instructor site to learn more about how you can stay connected with fellow educators and users of Cengage products. We are stronger together – and with the support of Cengage, we can all return to school better!