Blog Contributor: Bridget McGlynn
Brock University suspended face-to-face classes Friday, March 13th in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the end of the second semester for SASS Year 1 students was transitioned to a remote learning format. As a student in Scheme B (the thesis stream), I experienced the transition of SSAS 5P12 and SSAS 5P04 to an online platform, both of which were incredibly smooth!
SSAS 5P12 is the Climate Change Adaptation & Transformation course is led by Dr. Jessica Blythe and her course heavily emphasises class discussion, both when reflecting on weekly reading assignments and completing adaptation planning workshops. Our weekly seminar was transitioned by using a remote platform and the nature of the small Master of Sustainability program led to productive classes. Dr. Blythe’s smooth transition to delivering the course remotely allowed us to finish our final weeks of climate change transformation discussions and receive guidance on our final deliverables.
SSAS 5P04 is our transdisciplinary seminar that normally culminates in Year 1 students presenting research proposals prior to their committee meetings in April. These proposal presentations offer the opportunity to share with your professors and peers the independent work of the previous 3 months and receive feedback. As a student, the exercise is not only valuable because of the feedback received but is also exciting to see how your peer’s project conceptualizations have morphed from the initial ideas presented during whiteboard talks in November. Transitioning these presentations to a remote format involved adding narration to PowerPoint slides. While speaking into headphones is less invigorating then presenting to a live audience and listening to your own recorded voice can be somewhat unpleasant, this transition to sharing recorded presentations was very effective! As questions and comments were communally added to feedback forms, students were able to receive extensive feedback on their presentations – perhaps even more than a normal question period would have allotted for.
As a student, these altered class formats have been incredibly helpful as they have allowed me to continue progressing towards my degree despite the immense uncertainty.