As Penn State Lehigh Valley (PSU-LV) moves remote from Nov. 20 through the end of the semester, several PSU-LV students shared their learning experience and tips for success with peer students via Zoom on Nov. 12.
The webinar was moderated by two PSU-LV students, Princeton Bijou and Leo Liang. Bijou is a first-year student majoring in chemical engineering. Liang is a senior computer science major. The moderators asked the student panel a series of questions on best practices for remote instruction.
The student panel consisted of four PSU-LV students: Emily Deneen, Grace Hambly, Henry Li and Sherina Suthakar. Deneen is a high school junior, taking two dual-enrollment engineering courses at PSU-LV. Hambly is a first-year student majoring in biobehavioral health, Li is a first-year student majoring in physics and Suthakar is a sophomore biology major.
Some of the insights the students shared during the webinar included key study skills, overcoming the challenges of online learning, staying motivated, stress management and organizational tips.
Deneen shared her favorite methods for stress management, such as helping others, taking breaks between assignments, scheduling regular walks with friends and saving screenshots of work and grades as backups.
“Joining service organizations is something that’s helped me a lot.” Deneen said. “I regularly foster kittens, so not only am I helping the community, but I get to see kittens on a daily basis.”
When asked how virtual instructors can better improve the learning experience, Suthakar suggested using breakout rooms more often to allow students to work through problems together and better understand the topics.
“Giving more practice problems and putting them up on Canvas helps us understand and perform better by working more on topics we discussed in class,” she said.
Hambly echoed the breakout rooms sentiment and added that instructors who share their screen with visuals while they lecture give the students something to look at while they’re listening.
“The screen is right in front of your face rather than on the other side of the room, so you can see it and focus on it better,” Hambly said.
When discussing the benefits of professors holding virtual office hours, Li said, “Virtual office hours are one of the best features of online learning. Rather than walking all the way across campus, we are one click away from the professor’s office. It’s comforting when you find out that someone else is struggling with the same problem you have, and office hours can help with that.”
When asked how the students can help the professors better adjust to online learning, PSU-LV Associate Professor of Chemistry Roger Egolf said, “We are doing our best, but we certainly aren’t perfect. We don’t know what’s best for students unless they let us know what the issues are. I’d be very appreciative if my students would let me know if there’s something they think I could be doing better; I want to be better.”
This webinar offered valuable insights and tips for success in the world of remote instruction. Students and attendees gained helpful information from meaningful discussion, a Q&A session and a few words from the Learning Center and Disability Coordinator Linda Rumfield to end the event.
"I want our students to know that their professors care about them even in this remote learning environment. We want you to learn and we want you to succeed,” said Tai-Yin Huang, professor of physics at Penn State Lehigh Valley, who helped organized the event.
This event was sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, the Lehigh Valley Learning Center, the Honors Club and the Office of Student Affairs. The coordinators for the webinar included professors Tai-Yin Huang, Jacqueline McLaughlin, Maryam Kiani and Roger Egolf, as well as Pam Fleck, assistant director of student affairs.