The ECHO Magazine asked LBC | Capital faculty about ways they have adapted their styles of teaching and courses in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions. The responses were overwhelming, as our team compiled over 19 pages and 5,000 words of notes and submissions. As you read through the following “extra” insights, may you be encouraged that the faculty of LBC | Capital are truly innovative as they adapt to provide the best education for students.
Dr. Justin Harbin, Director for the Center for Teaching & Learning and Assistant Professor
“This semester, students have come to my classroom bringing with them anxieties and questions about current worldwide unrest, and I wanted to really lean into those conversations with them. I wanted to take tangible steps in addressing those concerns in ways which drew upon my academic discipline (education) as well as our Christian faith. For my sophomore Instructional Design course, we spent more time this semester considering how our writing of objectives and lesson plans ought to be motivated and guided by our Christian commitments. In this way, we address our nation’s issues through our teaching as a way of finding how ‘our own deep gladness and the world’s deep need might meet,’ as written by Douglas McKelvey in his book, ‘Every Moment Holy.’ For example, although we focus on how to write precise and effective learning objectives and meaningful lesson plans, we also ask deeper questions such as, ‘In which ways does my lesson plan cultivate students’ loves toward the City of God rather than the City of Man?’ and ‘How might my learning objectives awaken a desire to know, name and possess the good gifts of God’s creation?’ The students seemed to have resonated strongly with these concepts and have reported seeing new connections between God’s story of redemption and restoration in the world and their work as teachers.”
Dr. Stacey Martin, Associate Chair of the Education Department and Associate Professor
“I teach a course called Integrating Play, Movement and the Arts for sophomore students in the Early Childhood Education program. Typically, this course has included multiple class sessions where students create art samples and participate in play workshops. These activities have involved the sharing of art supplies, open-ended play materials, etc. In an effort to avoid sharing materials this semester, I have modified these experiences so that students each have their own supplies. Each student was given an ‘art kit’ that included scissors, glue, Crayons, colored pencils and paper so that they each have everything they need to complete their art portfolio without sharing materials. Art kits for remote students were mailed to their homes so they could participate fully in each class session. Play workshops were modified so that students each had an open-ended play material for solo play, which will be sanitized after use. Cooperative play experiences were substituted with videos of cooperative play workshops to watch and discuss. At first glance, it seemed impossible to carry out the elements of this course within the current guidelines, but with a little bit of thinking outside of the norm, we will be able to maintain the integrity of the course and COVID-19 guidelines simultaneously.”
Dr. Samuel Harbin, Chair of the Bible & Theology Department
“I’m teaching a beginning preaching course for our sister department, Church & Ministry Leadership, this fall. In light of COVID-19, I decided to plan the course for an easy transition to being fully online if it became necessary. In this blended design, students do online work, including viewing an instructional video I upload each week, for half of their weekly class time. We are still able to meet face-to-face for the other class day. This in-class time together has a workshop feel, where students bring to class completed work to share and receive feedback from me and their peers. It also provides opportunity for students to ask me questions about particular struggles they’ve faced with processing course content. I’ve been impressed with the effectiveness of the ‘flipped classroom’ approach. Anecdotally, there have been a higher number of those rewarding ‘lightbulb’ moments during our time together, where students break through to greater clarity and deeper understanding.”
Ryan Geesaman, Chair of the Communication & Media Arts Department and Director of the Live Production Program
“This semester has provided ample opportunities for Communication & Media Arts students to practice their crafts while supporting the efforts of LBC | Capital. From live-streaming chapel services to collaborating with Music, Worship & Performing Arts on recording and broadcasting their shows and concerts to supporting the drive-in commencement ceremony, CMA students have shown themselves to be flexible, dedicated and vital. Those in communication positions have been extremely busy since March, and that has proven to be true on campus as well.”
Dr. Kurt Miller, Assistant Professor and Social Work Program Director
“With the impact of COVID-19, teaching students ‘how’ to do social work has been challenging. In the past, we would have dyads in the classroom, assess student learning in close proximity with one another and provide feedback to them instantaneously to refine their process. Now, I am teaching the students how to complete tele-health social work through the use of Zoom in the classroom and for their final project. This summer, I Zoom-recorded myself as the social worker interviewing an alumnus who volunteered to play the part of the client who was struggling with some life challenges. As a result, students watch these seven recordings, take notes and complete the documents as if they were the social worker. Then we refine the skills in the classroom. For their final project, students completed seven Zoom-recorded videos with a student-as-client addressing the Planned Change Process (engage, assess, plan, implement, evaluate, terminate and follow-up) to which I gave feedback on their interpersonal skills in completing the tasks of each stage. While this is a new way to do social work practice, we are finding that this is opening doors for enhanced communication opportunities for otherwise marginalized populations.”
Dr. Diane Dick, Education Department Professor, was responsible for supervising two student teachers in the fall semester. Two days into student teaching, one of her students had to suddenly shift from in-person to Zoom. Dick has observed this student and watched the student adapt from in-person to Zoom lessons using online assessments and apps such as Nearpod and Seesaw. With her own teaching, Dick acknowledges she is not technology-literate, but her colleagues came around her and even created a buddy system within the department to help each other in the spring 2020 semester. Dick also found the Summer Institute from the Center for Teaching & Learning a godsend as she worked to redesign her courses.
Dr. Bob Dodson, Professor, Certification Officer and Field Placement Coordinator, lost a lot of sleep over the summer months as he worked to advocate and place education students. This was especially difficult as “the public schools went silent,” he said. However, the relationships built and maintained over the years within private Christian schools meant that these institutions immediately stepped in upon hearing Dodson’s needs, with one school telling him, “We will take 30 students.” Of the placements, three to four student teachers landed in public school settings. Dodson shared that many teacher preparatory programs across the state didn’t continue or couldn’t find placement for interns especially; that was not the case for LBC | Capital. Dodson thanks God for providing placements for eight student teachers, 12 practicum students and 53 internships during the fall 2020 semester.
Within the Music, Worship & Performing Arts Department, Rachel M. Sidebothom, Associate Chair and Music Education Program Director, used an iPad, computer, projector and an app to create an interactive whiteboard experience for students. Her discovery was shared within the department, and Dr. Bruce Gerlach, part-time professor of Music Theory and Composition, has also taken to using an iPad and whiteboard for his lectures as well as to collect and store written assignments. “I can use my iPad pen to show all kinds of music theory best practices,” Gerlach said. “The live demonstration in the classroom goes onto a shared screen while broadcasting with Zoom to synchronous learners who are off campus. In addition to this, all assignments are now submitted, graded and returned using the iPad. No more piles of papers and red pens. It is a new day.”
Dr. Vickie Byler, Professor and Chair of the Health & Physical Education Department
“I had one student who had to suddenly Zoom prior to the first class. The class only meets once a week for two hours, so I knew it was a crucial time to make her feel connected to the class. The challenge for me was that this class does a lot of activities for each lesson with partners or in groups of three, even with social distancing practices in place. We were not in a Zoom meeting room where we were able to do that. I had the idea to put her in a group as if she was here and bring people to add to her group up to the front so they were visible on camera and the two to three people interacted with her on screen. After the class, this student emailed me to let me know that it was helpful to engage her and make her feel a part of the class, especially for the two hours that she was on Zoom. I was also proud of how the class worked hard to include her and connect with her when it was their turn up front in her group. Sometimes I don’t think it has to be huge things to make a huge difference in making the connections for our students, but it does require thinking and planning ahead to make it work.”
Randy Renninger, Adjunct Professor, Foundations of Accounting
“The key to teaching remote and live is always to be aware that you have students logged in through Zoom. The goal was to be intentional with those students by asking them specific questions or calling on them to review one of the homework problems. Because I used the whiteboard extensively, it was important for me to always be aware to adjust the camera so that they could see the board clearly and to greet them as they came online—again, treating them as if they were physically in class.”
Tony Bruno, Assistant Professor and Criminal Justice Program Assistant
“Considering most other colleges and universities shut down their face-to-face services, I confess that I had my insecurities about how smoothly we as instructors were going to be able to make sudden and significant adjustments—especially since we were going to be one of the colleges that would be the exception of continuing to offer face-to-face teaching while still allowing students the option to Zoom. In short, I have been extremely blessed and encouraged by my experience. First, I have been encouraged by LBC | Capital’s preparedness for the arrival of students in this new academic year. User-friendly technology has been set up to ensure the delivery of our quality education in the midst of the sudden accommodations and social distancing policies that are now necessary. From my very first class session, Dr. Mark Menga was in my classroom before I was, ready to help me navigate the Zoom and multi-camera technology, and I was surprised by how simple it was to do so. Although I had some students face-to-face and others participating through Zoom, it still felt very much like one classroom of students who were not only responding to me but have also been interacting with each other with virtually no technical issues prohibiting us from doing so.
“Secondly, I’ve been greatly encouraged by our students. Making the adjustments they’re making this semester is being done patiently and joyfully. Many have been expressing tremendous gratitude that LBC | Capital has gone to great lengths to make it possible for us to continue face-to-face services at this time. Through unwanted circumstances, what a blessing to see how God is working to help us do some reimagining. We are reimagining how to help students receive our services in new and flexible ways, while at the same time re-envisioning the value of face-to-face as something that is, contrary to the thoughts of some, not becoming outdated.”
Seminary & Graduate School
Philip Béna, Program Director and Professor of the M.A. and M.Div. Christian Care Programs
“For my Christian Care of Individuals course, I created short content videos for my Seminary students to view during their remote Zoom residency. I had them listen to a video while taking notes, utilizing a content outline developed and provided by me. I encouraged them to write down questions and/or content areas that needed further clarification. This became the basis for a discussion session that I facilitated. This format created an effective primary and essential information focus thus providing much more time for processing, discussing and applying. This was a helpful reminder and affirmation that learning is much more than information acquisition. Learning occurs when acquired information is processed, solidified and applied.”
LBC | Capital – Philadelphia
Rev. Dr. Malcolm T. Byrd, Adjunct Professor
“I taught the Introduction to Community Transformation and Social Activism 101 Course. My online adaptations included individual presentations, peer review and small group exercises in chat rooms as well as discussions to facilitate optimal levels of student engagement and participation. These activities complemented the reading of digitally available thematic essays, journal articles and video recordings.”