Among the many considerations that remote learning brings to revamping our modes of instruction, maintaining the integrity of an interdisciplinary course is yet another crucial aspect. Revisiting the origin of ID studies at City Tech, we can see the purpose is to expose students to complex problems using multiple disciplinary perspectives and to break away from the univocal mode of instruction that students encounter in other courses at the college. At this unique juncture in City Tech history, we offer guidance as to how you can still achieve the Interdisciplinary Learning objectives of your course.
- Contact your invited guest lecturers and ask them how they would like to interact in your course. For example, a professor may prefer to meet synchronously via Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, or Microsoft Teams. This is perhaps the best practice because it offers students the opportunity to interact with the lecturer. In other instances, they may wish to provide a recorded lecture.
- If a guest lecturer is using a recorded lecture, develop a plan for them to interact with students. Examples of this would be inviting your guest lecture to participate in a discussion board (e.g., Blackboard, OpenLab). Another might be having a reflection assignment and the guest lecturer can provide the students with feedback. Be creative and be sure that your lecturer as an interaction with students beyond just the recording.
- Another tip on recorded lectures: It is best to convert any recordings to an .mp4 file allowing students to view the lecture on any number of personal and mobile devices. Remember Microsoft PowerPoint recordings can only be played by in PowerPoint, and this may not be accessible to all of your students.
- For co-taught courses, connect with your fellow professor to navigate the rest of the semester online. In these cases, both instructors already have shared access to Blackboard. Rely on each other’s strengths to make material and assignments accessible and consider other platforms, such as OpenLab, with which a co-instructor might have a preference or more experience.
- Get creative. All potential options for offering ID courses via remote learning have not been mentioned here, so please, think outside of the box. For example, in one ID course there are typically several site visits to monuments around the city. By providing students with links to the Google Earth’s images of these monuments, students will be able to “visit” these sites with a three-dimensional experience.
- Student engagement is largely determined with strategic professors. You are encouraged to do your best this semester to maintain your course structure and ID learning objectives, but perhaps the biggest obstacle in ensuring that students stay engaged during this face-to-face hiatus. Email, Blackboard, and OpenLab are going to be essential to contacting students about the new skills and resources needed to access your course.