Leveraging Professor-Student Partnerships for Post-Pandemic Teaching and Learning

In January 2021, Eric Loepp, a faculty member in the department of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Will Hinz, a member of the student government, administered a survey to students in order to answer big questions surrounding higher education during the fall 2020 semester. Like other institutions, theirs was working through ideas about what a post-pandemic educational experience should look like. Indeed, this is fundamentally what motivated this project: the desire to help their institution navigate what the near-future of pandemic/post-pandemic education should look like to best serve our students, instructors, and programs. Specifically, the following key questions guided this study:

  • How did the student experience differ across modalities in terms of satisfaction, engagement, and performance?
  • How successful were we as students and instructors adapting conventionally face-to-face activities — like group work and certain types of assessments — into purely online activities?
  • How can we best promote learning in a largely or exclusively online environment moving forward (e.g., investing in professional development for instructors vs. non-academic support centers vs. technical training)?
  • Can we gain systemic insight into pandemic-specific questions — like why students do or do not use webcams — for which most of our current understanding is principally anecdotal?
  • Ultimately, as we emerge from the pandemic, what aspects of teaching in 2020 and 2021 should we retain, reject, or revise?

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