Making the Move to Distance Teaching
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many of us to adopt an emergency transition to online teaching and learning during the Spring 2020 semester. We all likely have some thoughts about the challenges of that transition and online teaching in general. We are here to tell you that with proper planning, teaching Science Forward online does not have to be as stressful and can be quite rewarding for both you and your students. We have done it successfully at both Macaulay Honors College and the CUNY School of Professional Studies pre-pandemic.
We created this page as a way to link to outside resources and resources here on the Science Forward OER to help you teach Science Forward in the online classroom. This page is very much a work in progress, so check back often! If you know of other helpful resources, please send us a message using the form below!
Planning Your Course
NEW: Macaulay’s Teaching and Learning Collaboratory has produced an excellent resource for our faculty to use as they plan their courses. The Online on Purpose guide will help you construct a course that effective, inclusive, and rewarding for both you and your students. Download it here.
We have an annotated version of the sample syllabus for Science Forward that has explanations for some of the choices we have made. Feel free to use this as a model for your own course. Remember that you can make this course your own as long as you retain the four essential qualities of Science Forward: skills-focused, interdisciplinary, active, experiential. You can download the annotated syllabus here or find it in the Sample Syllabi section of this OER.
The CUNY School of Professional Studies is offering an Online Teaching Essentials workshop that would be excellent preparation for teaching Science Forward Online. Please visit this site to find out more information about the workshop and eligibility.
We have had success working with CUNY SPS to develop a fully online asynchronous Science Forward course (see the sample syllabus here). We recommend using their model for course building. Work with your TLC to decide what your course site will look like and what major sections you will need, then use this template and adapt based on your decisions. You can fill in all of the information that should appear on your site and your TLC can work to build it. Your TLC is your best resource for getting your course up and running!
If you’re looking for a quick overview of considerations when building an online course, Penn State has a Faculty Self-Assessment that is free to use. It has 33 competency assessment questions on pedagogy and course administration and takes about 20 minutes to complete. When you are done, it sends you an email with your answers with feedback.
Active Learning in the Online Classroom
We may be teaching remotely, but that does not mean we have to make our classrooms any less active. We strongly urge you to resist the temptation to only deliver lectures to your students that they then passively watch. We are working on adding resources to our Tools for Active Learning page of this OER and each of our Science Forward videos has recommended activities to pair with them. Visit the specific video pages to see these activities.
Experiential Learning Remotely
Regardless of whether you are teaching online or in person, we always recommend that you have students be engaged with the process of science as much as possible. You can bring students into your lab to collect data, have them do measurements in class, or participate in a community/citizen science project. Traditionally, we use a BioBlitz as a large-scale experiential learning event.
In a normal fall semester, we would be planning to hold our usual BioBlitz event for all sophomores taking Science Forward at Macaulay. We will keep you posted as to what we are planning, but know that there will be an event that replicates as much as possible the most important aspects of our traditional BioBlitz. Those aspects are:
A student data collection experience that generates student ownership over their projects and a data set to use in class.
Interaction with a scientist at work which models many of our Science Sense skills.
Community building across campuses which allows for a shared experience to connect the members of the sophomore class.
Come back soon for updates!
Last updated August 3, 2020.