While reading on problem based learning, the idea of real world problem solving within the classroom is incredibly valuable to students. Sure, these are just college kids right now, but the end goal is for them to enter the workforce with abilities that would allow for a more informed decision making process based off of the knowledge they obtained during their time in university.
A personal example of what I experienced as an undergraduate at George Mason University was that, as a requirement to graduate in Public Relations, each student must engage with and work for a corporation in their PR department. As an intern for the government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, I had to work through problems with a team of five in order to satisfy our client’s needs and deal with real world, real time events with little to no notice.
Although I do not hope to become apart of the Public Relations world, I have gained a multitude of skills as a result of that engagement with Booz Allen. Since I took the class relatively early in my academic career, each class I took afterward felt like practice for what I had already gone through. I was able to take away key findings and present work greater than I had ever previously produced. Through incorporating problem based learning into our own personal teaching styles, our students will gain skills that they will hold with them forever, not just for the sake of passing a class.
This week in Contemporary Pedagogy, I dedicated time to reading through the articles assigned to us regarding Digital Pedagogy. Honestly, I found the readings to be rather interesting seeing as we are currently in a purely online format, or at least I am. From here, I was not necessarily sure what to make of the transition at first. I found myself craving the in person interaction, although I think we can all agree that it is nice not having to drive to campus each day. As for my students in the Public Speaking class I teach, I have absolutely found a difference in them between our in person classroom setting and the Zoom one. I feel as though they started to become a bit distant with their coursework and less engaged when the transition first occurred, however, that does not seem to be the case now.
I am not sure if this new shift is because we have more or less become “used to” the pandemic at hand, or if it is because we are purely online for the entirety of this semester. That being said, the only negative shift I have encountered seems to be our students overall attitudes. I often find myself having to play the role of a cheerier individual than I typically am in order to try and lighten the mood within the classroom, but I am not sure if that is because of the online delivery or not. I suppose that life is simply tough for all of us right now, and the only true way for me to tell the difference between online attitudes and in person attitudes is to teach online once the pandemic is totally over.
All in all, the readings this week definitely got the cogs in my brain turning. I am sure that I will continue to see digital pedagogy to some degree in my future, and I hope to become an even better teacher through this experience with Covid.