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Student and Faculty Success in the Brave New World of COVID-19

Posted: May 27, 2021 — The tragedy of COVID-19 has changed the world in many ways, including the world of education. COVID-19 merged “social distancing” and “distance education” into “the new normal” at warp speed. While distance education certainly brings its own set of unique challenges, it also has delivered new and even unexpected student and faculty successes.

It is well known that students are different and that learning styles are often as diverse as the students themselves. For example, students of the fine arts may be inclined to be visual learners, while students entering science, engineering and mathematically oriented fields like accounting may tend to be process or sequentially oriented learners. During the first “planned” COVID-19 distance education Fall 2020 semester at SUNY-FMCC, student success has been achieved by accommodating multiple learning modalities.

Like students, teachers are also different and employ different pedagogical styles. Some teachers favor lectures. Others prefer in-class group learning. Most teachers present new material in-class, have students study the material and then return to class to review that information. Increasingly, however, a flipped classroom has emerged, where students study new material independently before class and then review that material with the teacher in class.

With COVID-19, different teaching styles and learning styles are converging. For starters, teachers have discovered that distance learning readily accommodates the flipped class-room environment. In addition, many teachers are now delivering pre-recorded video lectures that can be paused and replayed at the students’ own pace and even while reading associated textbook passages – an experience that cannot be readily re-created within the traditional physical classroom teaching modality.

The archived recording of live classes delivered via ZOOM/MS-TEAMS/WEBEX camera/audio assisted tools creates a permanent repository of the classroom experience that can now be analyzed 24/7 by students and faculty seeking to re-create, mass-distribute, and maximize the pedagogical experience. With this new online experience, students now have the ability to thoroughly research and document discussion topics, engaging in more scholarly analysis and debate than might occur in a typical physical classroom setting.

From my interactions with students and faculty at SUNY-FMCC during the Fall 2020 semester of COVID-19, I am aware that the above benefits have been achieved at SUNY-FMCC. I have witnessed both student and faculty success first-hand, and have begun to engage in numerical based assessment to ascertain and document what has worked best, why it has worked, and what opportunities are available to integrate this success back into the classroom when the horror of COVID-19 recedes from daily life.

In the field of education, the “old normal” has already been drastically transformed by COVID-19 and the hyper-adoption of distance education. That has created new and welcome student and faculty success that will benefit everyone  for years to come.

SUNY-FMCC is a pioneering leader that is making these benefits available right here, right now. Come join us and see how our teachers and student services can make the new opportunities in education work for you.

Laurence K. Zuckerman, CPA, MS in Taxation is an Associate Professor of Business and Accounting at the State University of NY – Fulton Montgomery Community College. He has been a full-time faculty member since 2006. His college teaching career began in 1992 as Adjunct Faculty at Queens College – City University of New York. He has also served as Adjunct Faculty with the State University of NY – StonyBrook, and SUNY – Suffolk Community College. 

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