Transcending Online and On-Ground: How On-Campus and Online Teaching Inform Each Other

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Brief Abstract

In this interactive session, a group of colleagues from a graduate school of education share lessons and reflections about the development of their online programs, and examine the reciprocity of online and on-ground progressive teaching. Participants will be invited into an exchange of ideas to discuss and apply practices.



Laura Zadoff MEd. is the Instructional Designer for Online Learning at Bank Street Graduate School of Education. She supports faculty in the development of online and blended courses. In the past, she worked in online programs as a coach for a teacher education program (Wide World, Harvard Graduate School of Education) and instructional designer for professional online courses (Educational Portal of the Americas, Organization of the American States). She also researched and evaluated uses of digital technologies to enhance college courses (Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning, Columbia University).
Robin E. Hummel, Ed.D. is the Director of the Leadership in Mathematics Education program at Bank Street Graduate School of Education. As Bank Street faculty, she serves as an advisor to graduate students and teaches mathematics, mathematics pedagogy, and action research. Dr. Hummel is also the Co-Director of Online Teaching and Learning where she supports faculty in the development of progressive pedagogy online. She received her Ed.D. in Leadership for Educational Change at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA, and her dissertation focused on action research as professional development for teachers and leaders in schools. She has presented at the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and American Educational Research Association (AERA). Prior to her career in higher education, she taught fifth grade through high school in public schools for over 25 years in southern New Jersey.

Additional Authors

Genevieve Lowry began her career as a certified child life specialist (1990) working with children diagnosed with chronic and life-threatening illness at a major New York Hospital. In 2007 she began a private practice working with families in the community facing a variety of challenges. These experiences and her online platform providing professional development to child life and creative arts therapists led her to consider the work of the child life specialist beyond the hospital. Genevieve has worked at Bank Street College since 2004 as an adjunct, Interim Director of the Child Life Program (2015-2016), and currently as Course Instructor and Fieldwork Advisor in the fully online Child Life Program. In these roles, Genevieve demonstrates her belief that the philosophical tenets of child life can be applied to other settings and populations leading to innovative programming in communities and coursework at Bank Street. She is particularly interested in the intersection of social justice and health care as well as supporting child life students and professionals to be advocates for social justice. She writes, presents, and provides consultation to a variety of organizations both locally and nationally and in 2013 she was recognized by Wheelock College as an alumnus fulfilling the college’s mission and philosophy.
Susie Rolander is a life-long teacher, beginning her practice in Santa Rosa, California as a bilingual kindergarten teacher. She is a graduate Bank Street College's Literacy Program and currently works as an advisor and instructor in the graduate school, teaching classes both on-ground and on-line. She is currently working on her doctorate at Fielding University.
After earning his MSEd in Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education, Tyler began his career in education as a third and fourth grade teacher for seven years in New York, after which he became an instructional coach, curriculum director, and principal in elementary and pre-school settings. He has served as an instructional coach in both independent and public school settings. Most recently, he served as the first Lower School Dean of Teaching and Learning at Milton Academy in Massachusetts. He decided to depart from Milton this school year to pursue his doctorate in Education at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. As an Adjunct Professor at Bank Street, he typically teaches courses on language acquisition, writing, and grammar, and he has taught these courses in fully online and hybrid formats.

Extended Abstract

As faculty in a graduate school of education dedicated to equity and progressive educational practices, we have spent many years honing our on-ground practice. Teaching online gave us the opportunity to look at our finely-honed practice anew, which led to growth and change. For a number of years, we have also been developing online programs to expand our approach. When all of our programs moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty came together to further explore the progressive possibilities of online teaching—to preserve and translate those aspects of on-ground practice we cherish, and to innovate new approaches that would transcend the distinction between online and on-ground. How, for instance, might the move to online enrich our teaching in general? How might elements of good teaching guide our practice, no matter the context?

Plan for Interactivity

The panelists will share stories of learning and questions that arose during these experiences. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with panelists in small group breakout discussions to share strategies, examples of promising practices and problems of practice.  We will then return to the large group and participants will offer highlights and next steps to consider in their own practice. 

The Takeaways: What Attendees Will Learn

We believe that an online pedagogy holds new possibilities for student agency, teacher growth, and learning spaces characterized by flattened hierarchies and student-teacher partnerships in which all members of the community are contributing to learning. We will offer what we appreciated about the shift to online while holding onto our deeply-held commitment to our pedagogy. We identify three conceptual frameworks that support the thinking and discussion of progressive online practice. In this session, we will share examples of these frameworks in action, based upon our own experiences while teaching in higher education, and invite attendees to do the same. We believe that these conceptual frameworks are critical and evergreen as we meet the challenges of our current era, holding promise well into the future.  The three conceptual frameworks are: 

  • An interactive-developmental approach to working with adult learners. We design experiences that prioritize students’ interactions with one another and with the task and materials, which enable us to coach the students across a developmental landscape of learning. This approach guides us as we decide which experiences should be asynchronous or synchronous and how these experiences in fact belong to a single dynamic whole. In progressive education, teachers think carefully about the design of the learning environment before students ever enter the classroom; we approach asynchronous (as well as synchronous) task design in just this way. When we design for student agency and equity in the very structure of learning tasks, we enable students to engage directly in a process of discovery. This process need not be fully mediated by the teacher in order to be meaningful, which in turn frees the teacher to focus on each student’s development. These designs can take many forms, including solving rich tasks in collaborative settings and using video recordings for reflection. 

  • Promoting embodiment and engaging the senses. We use progressive pedagogy to challenge the notion that online learning is not embodied learning. By prioritizing interactivity, we optimize the physicality of learning in online settings. This move is an essential aspect of teaching for social justice; for decades, critical feminist scholars have shown us that embodiment is a powerful dimension of BIPOC and women’s meaning-making and leadership in the classroom (hooks, 1994). Relatedly, as we contemplate the ways in which pandemic lockdowns have impacted the senses (Allen, 2021) and the roles that the senses play in education (Todd, 2021), we design learning experiences that intentionally engage our students’ senses and move beyond words.

  • Online progressive pedagogies that humanize our teaching and sustain community, such as those identified by Sharon Ravitch in her framework Flux Pedagogy (2020), which includes critical pedagogy and emergent design. These pedagogies hold the potential to diminish hierarchies, attend to student well-being, promote student engagement, and deepen our teaching practice. It was essential to our pedagogy to explicitly build community online, and we wanted evidence that the seeds of community were being planted. This focus made us question our assumptions about the on ground community, which led to an intentionality of building community on ground. We built ways for students and instructors to interact in small groups and get to know each other by reconsidering the structures that promote authentic interactions and creating intentional spaces for social-emotional care for one another, inviting and harnessing student inquiries to guide the direction of discussions and activities, and create brave space norms to guide discussions. 

Works Cited

Allen, L. (2021). The smell of lockdown: Smellwalks as sensuous methodology. Qualitative Research. Published in SAGEjournals OnlineFirst.  Retrieved from

hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. Routledge. 

Ravitch, S. (2020). FLUX pedagogy: Transforming teaching and leading during Coronavirus. Perspectives on Urban Education, 17.  Retrieved from

Todd, S. (2021). Education, contact and the vitality of touch: membranes, morphologies, movements. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 40, 249-260.