Associate Professor Jennifer Herzog was under the impression her classes would remain as usual this semester, but during the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic, those plans were altered. Introductions of new technologies provided by Microsoft allowed for Herzog to learn new ways to bring teaching home.
“I have always utilized the online platform (Generals Online) to allow for a quick transition for students to continue learning in the case of an emergency,” said Herzog, discussing the way she previously set up her classroom. Her teaching was always set up with an online component, in case of a need to learn from home. “Learning a new teaching tool (Microsoft Teams) was a hurdle very close to the start of classes, but I am excited to see the engaging features it offers to my students—and that my students appear to be finding it easy to use and helpful.”
Herzog’s positive outlook in her virtual classroom and on what the new technologies can add to her students learning abilities is admirable. In a time where some students and faculty seem to be frustrated with the new protocols, Herzog finds light at the end of the tunnel.
- Anthony Leone, Communication & Media A.S.
While it may be “Back to School” time, not many college students are actually returning to campus.
During the pandemic most students have exchanged their desks for their couch at home, and lecture halls for online meetings. This new time of change has not only had an effect on students but on faculty and staff at Herkimer College as well.
Jason Brown, an assistant professor of English, shared some of this thoughts on how this has affected the Herkimer campus. “For starters, everything that was in the classroom is now online so it took a long time migrating all of the material to an electronic format.”
When asked what he thought the biggest challenge staff and students alike had to face Brown said, “accessing the system itself, whether due to the ‘invite’ feature or connectivity issues… as with all technology, there’s still unexpected (issues) that arise from time to time.” When asked if he thought there were any possible upsides to this new teaching style Professor Brown went on to say “I do think this style has afforded the quieter/shyer students more comfort or an ease in participating.”
While the pandemic has brought its own new challenges, Herkimer has adapted and classes can start in some form. It will be interesting to see where this year leads, with hopefully better times ahead.
- Chase Halstead, Communication & Media A.S.
Blake Pitcher is an associate professor at Herkimer County Community College who faces the difficult task of teaching during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Pitcher teaches classes such as Intro to Graphics & Design and Digital Photography. Both would normally involve students in close proximity using the same equipment as each other.
These classes are still open to the student body, but they have changed significantly from last year. In the classroom, every other computer has been made unavailable in order to comply with social distancing guidelines, and the students take turns as to who is in the classroom with a max occupancy of ten. In Pitcher’s three face-to-face classes, his other two being over Generals Online, students face a fast-approaching deadline to finish their in-person projects—after Thanksgiving break all classes will resume via Microsoft Teams.
However, Pitcher does not view all these changes as negative. He believes that the way the college has adjusted its classes will help students in a world that will keep many of these changes. “It was good training for the environment that many would face after college,” Pitcher said.
- James Piper, Communication & Media A.S.