Let’s Chat, Stat! How’s teaching going this fall? What’s working and what’s not?

When we created StatTLC, we wanted to create a space to share and discuss ideas about teaching and learning. While we have curated posts to share ideas, we feel we have fallen short on engagement and discussion. Which brings us to…(drum roll please)…a new type of post, called Let’s Chat, Stat! We want these posts to provide a place (comments, below) to have conversations and informally share ideas about a particular teaching topic. Feel free to comment as much or as little as you want.

The topic we chose is: Teaching insights in the time of COVID.

How’s teaching going this term? What have you found that works well and what blunders/challenges have you encountered? 

Have a topic or question to discuss? Submit it to our Suggestion Box and we’ll do our best to post it.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Chat, Stat! How’s teaching going this fall? What’s working and what’s not?

Add yours

  1. I’m teaching two courses this term: Biostatistics I fully-online (traditional intro course, uses both R and SAS) and a “tidyverse” R course (via Zoom class). Both audiences are graduate students. I’m going to focus in on only the R course in my post.

    The R course is going…ok. I’m having a hard time as an instructor to gauge the Zoom classroom. I don’t require them to have their camera on (I didn’t want to be invasive on their space if they didn’t want to share), so only a handful of them have it on. I’ve had some breakout room sessions for small group work and that seems to work well if I create a Google Sheet with separate worksheets for each breakout room (so I can monitor their process in real time). Having a single document to work on encourages them to work together. What has been challenging has been to encourage participation from everyone (both in large and small group settings). I have my usual 6-7 that i know will supply a reply, but out of 27 students, i would like more like 50%. My general philosophy for teaching graduate students is to do less “hand-holding” than I would undergrads so I don’t want to assign “in-class” participation points. I even say they can unmute themselves or type their response in chat, but very few use chat. If anyone has solutions for getting students to talk via Zoom class, I’m all ears!

  2. I have been using a mix of asynchronous lecture videos and activities with one, live, synchronous session each week, and it has been working really well in my opinion. I imagine it is a little more engagement than our (always) online students typically get, and a little less engagement than our on-campus students typically get, but I feel like it is striking a nice balance given the circumstances. One of my courses is full of medical residents, and I think the course is actually more useful for them the less time they have to sit in the classroom (after a long day of clinical rotations).

    I have been using Discord to allow for more real-time communication between students and between students/instructor. This has been working OK in one of my courses and in the other course it goes unused. So, it has not been used as frequently as I anticipated, however I think I will at least continue to use it as an option for attending office hours. I do not typically have a ton of students in my office for office hours, but Discord gives them another way of connecting with me without having to commute to my office (which isn’t in the most conveniently placed building on campus).

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