Teaching During a Pandemic: Tips And Tricks

By Ashley Ryder (Doctoral Candidate), Shea Brgoch (Doctoral Candidate), Evan Davis (Doctoral Candidate), and Derek Walton (Doctoral Student). All authors are from The Ohio State University Sport Management Program. Any questions can be directed toward Ashley Ryder on Twitter @AshleyNRyder

Teaching is a challenge. Teaching effectively is an art. Teaching during COVID-19 is… interesting, and we are all learning on the fly. Dealing with the loss of routine, a shift to online learning, and larger workloads has been tricky not only for us, but for students as well (Akyildiz, 2020). As instructors, we must empathize with students and help them succeed withinside the classroom. One way to help students is to make classrooms more inviting by utilizing online resources.

In the era of COVID-19, online learning has become the norm. Instructors can use online resources to promote student learning and engagement and help reduce stress. Whether teaching in-person, a mixture of in-person and online, or completely and especially online, there are several tools and strategies that can be implemented in your classroom to assist with student learning. We discuss some of them below. 

Learning Management System

One common online resource that is overlooked and underutilized is the learning management system (LMS). Faculty should embrace the movement towards maximizing their use of communication through online software and technology such as Canvas by Infrastructure or Blackboard, to ensure consistency and ease of access. This can be as simple as using an LMS’s “homepage” as the focal point of communication that serves as a one-stop shop for accessing course information for a given week, for example, including a to-do list (see the images below). Individuals are spending increased time on smartphones and future trends are leaning towards mobile devices to guide learning (Docebo, 2018).  Utilizing LMS platforms is advantageous because they are mobile accessible and allow students to quickly check course information without wireless internetat their own convenience (Bouchrika, 2020). 

Additional Online Learning Tools

Beyond the provided LMS system from your university, Padlet is an interactive digital board that can be accessed by instructors and students. Its features include the ability to post images, links, videos, and documents. All responses can be anonymous or require a name. Additional features include likes, comments, and thumbs up/down.  

Another digital tool option is Nearpod, a digital platform that allows instructors, in-person or virtual, to make their presentations interactive by incorporating features such as quizzes, polls, videos, and collaborate boards. The software is web-based and contains two modes: live mode (compatible with Zoom) or self-paced mode.  

Document Sharing

A discussion technique facilitated through the rotation of stations with guiding statements or questions with a collective dialogue to follow

Gallery Walk

With the shift to virtual learning, many discussion-based activities that are traditionally used in in-person classes can be modified for the online environment. For example, a gallery walk (i.e., discussion technique facilitated through the rotation of stations with guiding statements or questions with a collective dialogue to follow) or jigsaw (i.e., team-based; each member becomes a subject matter expert in one of 4 areas selected from current course material and teaches it to others) can be done by directing students to complete their sections in OneNote or a Google Doc (Serc, 2018; Van Amburgh et al., 2007).

Time Management

Outside of online resources, it is important to be empathetic and flexible with students as they learn to manage their time better. For example, allowing students to select their own assignment due dates and/or extending assignment due dates can give students greater flexibility in managing their overall course workload. Another way to help students is to check-in with them and inquire about their wellbeing throughout the semester. These check-ins can help identify areas students are struggling with, so they may be provided with the necessary support to adjust and adapt as needed.  

At the end of the day, nothing in COVID-19 is easy. Instructors and students are learning on the go and trying their best to simulate an in-person learning environment in a virtual world. During these challenging times, online resources can provide flexibility, and help ease the burden of teaching and learning in the COVID-19 environment.  

References

Akyildiz, S. T. (2020) College students’ views on the pandemic distance education: A focus group discussion. International Journal of Technology in Education and Science, 4(4), 322-334.

Bouchrika, I. (2020). List of learning management systems for schools and universities. Retrieved from https://www.guide2research.com/research/list-of-learning-management-systems-for-schools-and-universities

Docebo. (2018). E-Learning Trends 2019. Retrieved from 

https://kometa.edu.pl/uploads/publication/634/550a_A_Docebo-E-Learning-Trends-2019.pdf?v2.8.

Serc. (2018). What is gallery walk? Retrieved from https://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/gallerywalk/what.html

Van Amburgh, J.A.V., Devlin, J.W., Kirwin, J.L., & Qualters, D.M., (2007). A tool for measuring active learning in the classroom. American Journal of Pharmaceutical  Education, 71(5), 1–8.


A Foreign Territory of Opportunities: Experiences of a Sport Management International Student

Nina is a second-year PhD student at the University of Louisville. Her research focuses on establishing and maintaining sport partnerships in parasports and developing successful adaptive sports programs. A German Native, Nina is a Fulbright alumnus and has lived, studied, and worked in four countries.

November 14, 2017 – the day my life changed forever, and my biggest dream came true. I was in Arnhem, Netherlands, a senior in the International Business and Management Studies program at the Arnhem Business School. I was delighted to see an email informing me that I had been awarded the 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholarship. I opened the email and read it over and over again because I simply could not believe it. A few sleepless nights later (because I was so excited), I received another email from Fulbright Germany informing me that I had been chosen to pursue a master’s degree in Sport Administration at the University of Louisville (UofL). My journey of studying in the U.S. began here and continues to this day.

On my first day at UofL, I realized I was the only foreign student in the program. As a German who  completed my undergraduate degree with students from various regions of the world in both the Netherlands and Hong Kong, this was foreign territory to me. Classes were incredibly challenging in the beginning because I was unfamiliar with most of the sport examples discussed. I spoke with my professors and classmates and informed them that I could not relate to the class content with these foreign (to me) examples. That turned the tide and my professors and peers took extra time to expand and explain the examples used in class. Soon I was learning about sport in the U.S. and sharing my experiences of sport and life in other countries. Embracing the American sports world outside the classroom, I found myself on the court at United Centre, home of Michael Jordan and the famed Chicago Bulls, volunteering at the NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament! I was one of 72,000 people in the stadium and made lifelong friends through this experience.

At the NCAA Men’s Final Four tournament in Minneapolis

To immerse myself in the American sport culture and make the most of my time in the U.S., I decided to pursue an internship with the development department (Cardinal Athletic Fund) of Louisville Athletics. This internship gave me the opportunity to learn from some of the best development directors in the nation. I was able to work during football games and men’s basketball games, which provided me with a once in a lifetime experience and incredibly valuable connections. If I can give one advice to foreign students, it is to network. And guess what, turns out an accent is always going to be a conversation starter!

While my Fulbright scholarship fulfilled my lifelong dream of studying in the U.S. and pursuing a degree in Sport Administration (a goal from 5th grade), it was not the end of my journey in America. My professors opened doors for me that I did not think existed for a first-generation college student. Thanks to Dr. Mary Hums, I was able to stay at UofL, and am now pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, specializing in Sport Administration. My doctoral degree is funded by a University Fellowship.

Dr. Mary Hums and I during my master’s graduation ceremony, May 2019. She is my advisor and will be my dissertation chair

It is said that the U.S. is the country of opportunities, and I can confirm, that for me, it has been. Since starting my doctoral program, I have gained opportunities to teach and be involved in research projects. I have taught classes in Sport Finance, International Sport, and Issues and Ethics in Sport. This has given me valuable experience in lecturing, designing and grading assignments, and learning from student feedback. I have been involved in several research activities, such as preparing a grant proposal for International Sport Programming, and a study with my peers in the doctoral program examining college adaptive sport sponsorship and the role of cause-related marketing. Being involved with these projects has given me new skills in qualitative and quantitative research methods, grants and report writing, and working as part of a team. I have attended and presented at a variety of academic conferences, which has improved my ability to present in front of an audience and answer questions on the spot. Additionally, I have had the privilege of speaking with middle and high school students in various cities in Kentucky about the importance of intercultural and international exchange.

Speaking to High School students during International Education Week 2018 on behalf of Reach the World and Fulbright

If you are an international student thinking about studying or are currently studying in North America, I urge you to seek opportunities, dream bigger, and work harder because you will be rewarded with an experience unlike any other. To U.S.-based students, educators, and administrators, embrace the knowledge and nurture the talent of your international students. It will not only be valuable to them, but also to you.

Do you have any questions about studying in the U.S., my experiences, and or working with international students? Do not hesitate to reach out to me: nina.siegfried@louisville.edu 

Together, Apart or Somewhere in Between: Considerations for Managing Para Sport

By Darda Sales. The author is currently a PhD candidate at Western University in London, Ontario.

As a four-time Paralympian, coach, and PhD candidate, I have heard the statement ‘Sport is sport’ numerous times and I agree that the goals of sport are consistent for able-bodied and para athletes: enjoyment, competition, pushing oneself to be the best one can be at their chosen activity. However, to ensure sport and physical activity meets its intended outcomes and is beneficial to all participants, sport managers working in para sport need to be aware of the discussion surrounding segregation and integration.

Segregated Para Sport Opportunities:

Segregated sporting opportunities allow para athletes to be themselves without the impact of ableist views weighing in on them. In my experience, segregation provides opportunities to be with only those with similar experiences, and these segregated environments allow para athletes to build their self-confidence and skills in an environment set up to meet their particular needs. It helps them connect with others who share similar background experiences. It also allows para athletes to make mistakes, to stumble and fail in an accepting environment, with less concern of judgement or scrutiny. Intended or not, a lot of pressure can be placed on para athletes if they feel that they are being expected to live up to the same standards as able-bodied athletes (Wolbring, 2012). A segregated environment can relieve that pressure and allow para athletes to develop their own skills, at their own pace, and in their own way.

Integrated Para Sport Opportunities:

Alternatively, integration is the intermixing of para and able-bodied athletes (Howe, 2007).  In Canada, para sport has seen an increase in training and competitive opportunities when sports such as swimming and athletics began to be integrated in the 1990s. Integration allows for increased access to educated coaches and well-equipped facilities. It allows para athletes to challenge themselves alongside other athletes who are chasing similar goals and dreams, whether those other athletes have impairments or not.

Note of Caution: simply allowing para athletes into your program is not true integration (Berry, 1996). Thought and consideration needs to be given to include para athletes in a meaningful way into programs offered. Having a para athlete in a program continually struggling to keep up with their non-impaired counterparts or fitting into a prescribed program or sitting on the sidelines is not true integration (Berry, 1996).

The integration of para athletes needs to receive consideration and thought as to what works best for the functional level of the para athlete, where they are now, where they have the potential to get to, and a set plan on how to help them reach their full potential. Swimming Canada is an example of an organization that continues to put time, effort and resources into improving the integration of para athletes within their programming.

A Hybrid Approach:

A fitness center with both a general and a women’s only workout room is a comparable idea to the optimal training environment for para athletes.  The women’s only room allows women to exercise in a segregated environment with others with similar experiences.  Women’s only rooms tend to have smaller equipment to fit the smaller size of some women, and provides them with a comfortable, judgement-free environment. The general room, in which people of all shapes, sizes, genders, and experiences exercise, tends to have heavier weights and more equipment. Women are welcome to train in whichever environment works best for their personal comfort and training needs. Sporting opportunities for para athletes need to take on a similar thought process as not one environment, segregated or integrated, will always be the best fit for all para athletes.

Having experienced both segregated and integrated training and competition opportunities as a para athlete, I fully believe that there is a time and place for both environments. If sport managers recognize and accommodate this need, it can result in long term para athlete engagement and success within their programs.

%d bloggers like this: