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Teaching Virtually: An Instructor’s Perspective

A CSU professor weighs in on how she’s faring amidst the upheaval in shifting to remote learning. 

Now that Jennifer Dohy, (BS ’10, MS ’12, Ph.D. ’16) adjunct professor at CSU, can only interact with her students via computer screens, she places added focus on maintaining those relationships and keeping her virtual door open. 

Dohy teaches Advanced Behavior Management in the spring and Introduction to Special Education in the fall, and believes a strong teacher-student relationship makes learning more accessible. But she readily acknowledges the strain that the shift in learning environments places on sustaining those connections.

She’s always made herself available to students, and these days is even more open, regularly touching base for wellness checks, assignment deadline reminders and following up with those floundering in virtual waters. 

“It is easier to fall behind when you abruptly transition from in-person to online learning, so it is important to maintain contact, set up reminders for students beyond the schedule in the syllabus. I sent out emails to remind students when assignments were due and tell them to contact me if they were struggling with completion.” 

Her weekly Zoom office hours often become an outlet for students to vent. 

“They could just come to say, hi, or talk about anything else they were struggling with, in my class as well as others. Many talked with me about their personal struggles.” 

When students are particularly challenged by course assignments, she’s there to coach them through the rough spots, albeit virtually.

It’s all a part of her brand of instruction, one that extends well beyond the classroom. 

“I tell them, once they’re my student, they’re always my student, so they can contact me anytime they need something. Some of the students have taken me up on this offer and may contact me while student teaching for additional support or to run ideas by me.”

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