February 2021 Volume 4, Issue 1
Dr. Patricia Fulfs tries to keep synchronous learning as close to in-person instruction as possible.
Dr. Fulfs, professor of Communication and Humanities, has taught at SVCC for 13 years. Her classes have been delivered mostly through face-to-face classroom settings, but she has also taught Mass Communication in an online format.
Dr. Fulfs discusses the differences between teaching courses in a traditional face-to-face setting versus the online, synchronous method that has become a part of the new norm.
Dr. Fulfs wanted to maintain a quality of lectures that was as close to a traditional classroom setting as possible.
She said, “Going from face to face to the never seeing anyone again and just communicating through written means and recorded video and that kind of thing was so abrupt that that’s when I agreed to go synchronous in an attempt to try to mimic the face-to-face, in person teaching as much as possible.”
The major difference for Dr. Fulfs in how she is currently working compared to before seems to be the amount of time it takes to grade papers and the extra time it takes to write out instructions for things like exams that would normally be verbally stated in the classroom. She continues to grade papers by hand after printing out the documents, then scans the graded documents into the computer to then return to the student.
“Canvas has the grading [functions]...” She says, “but it is not conducive, I don’t think, to actually giving very detailed feedback and clear feedback, especially if there are lots of writing issues.”
She continues to work from her office on campus. “I like to stay on a schedule.” She laughed and added, “Now I’m kind of spoiled in the fact that it’s quiet there and also I get great parking spots!”
Overall, she has not found it difficult to still connect with students since her classes are synchronous and through online meetings non-verbal communication can still come through and students are able to ask questions in real time. She said of students that she hasn’t had in classes other than her online synchronous courses, “There are some folks I’ve never met in person… It’s just as if you had met.”
She needed her film class to see some video clips, but because her internet connection at home wasn’t reliable enough to broadcast the video streams she stayed on campus to do it, even when campus was closed due to a snow storm.
“Students should never say I don’t love them and I don’t do things for them.” She told her class. “I am here during a snowstorm when the building is supposed to be closed.”