Reflections on Teaching Biology Using Zoom

Jessamyn Manson | Assistant Professor, General Faculty, Department of Biology

Biology Assistant Professor Jessamyn Manson discovered some great opportunities after the pivot to online teaching. She would usually have students do in-person presentations in her upper level seminar course, but during the pandemic, she had them create pre-recorded presentations instead. She found that the online presentations were really exciting and more creative with students using different tools and strategies like animation, playacting, and PowerPoint. She plans to continue to have students complete video presentations, which she can share in a media gallery and students can watch at their own pace, comment on their peers' presentations, and generate discussion.

Manson also had to rethink how to hold effective office hours. Typically, her students come to office hours to work on homework assignments together, compare answers, and share strategies. She is just there as a resource if needed. She decided to create weekly Zoom meetings as a space for students to continue to talk to, teach, and inform each other. Manson monitored the chat and popped into the conversation if students had questions, but mainly she just hosted the meeting. These online office hours allowed more people to join and feel comfortable participating. Manson will continue holding these online sessions as a complement to her in-person office hours.

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