#UnpluggedNCState Week 3: We Can Move Forward

By Maria Gallardo-Williams

Listen on Google Drive (transcript) Week 3 with Dr. Donna Petherbridge (Interim Vice Provost, DELTA) and Dr. Diane Chapman (Executive Director for Faculty Development, Office for Faculty Excellence)

Welcome to #UnpluggedNCState’s third week, and thank you so much for signing up for this series! The past two weeks have been so rewarding, it has been wonderful to interact with so many of you on Twitter and to receive your comments regarding wellness and taking care of ourselves.

Let this summer be the time when we commit to taking care of ourselves, to finding things that help us stay healthy and inspired, and to move on to the next step in the strange journey that has been the last year and a half of our lives. When looking for a suitable reading for this week I kept finding serious academic articles about envisioning our post-COVID future. While those are very important, they didn’t capture the spirit of this week for me. How do we move forward while still taking the best of what we learned with us? I settled on a collection of essays that covers a variety of topics. Without a doubt, my favorite one is Rachel Pomerance Bell’s piece on keeping virtual parties even after we can go back to having them in person. I guess you could say that this is a strange way to look at things, but this paragraph reminded me of our current need to think about teaching after the pandemic:

“In a way, it was more intimate than an in-person party. Instead of catching a few minutes of mingling with your guests, the Zoom party removes distractions (if you can get over seeing yourself), leaving each of us face to face in our “Brady Bunch” boxes. The team breakout rooms during the trivia game replicated the feel of a side conversation at a big party. Once the game ended, guests stuck around, naturally slipping into an extended afterparty.”

I had this thought in the back of my mind when I met with my guests for this week’s podcast, Donna Petherbridge (Interim Vice Provost, DELTA) and Diane Chapman (Executive Director for Faculty Development, Office for Faculty Excellence). I didn’t bring it up, but if you listen to it, or read this week’s transcript, I think you will see the amazing similarities between the party story and what our faculty, staff, and students are telling us that they would like to keep as we go back to campus this Fall. We were forced to learn so much and so fast about what works in a virtual environment, both for teaching courses and for keeping the University running from a distance! We found things that work, things that are more practical, more kind, or more inclusive, and our guests make excellent points about how to keep the best of what we learn, and how to adapt so we can come back even stronger.

When we finished the time we had for the podcast I kept wishing that we had more time to keep talking and sharing ideas. I wanted to talk about how to keep backchannel chats in an in-person course, how to engage our students in and out of the classroom, and how to check in with our students virtually. I am sure that you will have ideas of your own that you would like to share, and we would love to hear them. Let’s make the Twitter space our extended afterparty!

You can leave us a comment (if you have an NC State id), or we will be following this conversation on Twitter at #UnpluggedNCState and you can join us there. Looking forward to hearing from you, and don’t forget to join us on July 27 at 11 am for our Online Pet Therapy session, which will feature a Licensed Therapy Dog and an assortment of pets from our community.

Journaling prompts/conversation starters:

  • What did you learn during COVID that you want to keep with you as we move past it?
  • What are your hopes for your campus this Fall?
  • Are you ready to move on or do you feel that you need more time?

Some useful links:

Suggested Reading for this week: What We Should Keep Post-Pandemic and Covid’s Remote Parties Allowed Us to Celebrate with All of Our dearest, Not Just Our Nearest

Pet Therapy at the NC State University Libraries Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 11:00am to 12:00pm

7 Dos & Don’ts for Post-Pandemic Teaching With Technology

Beyond COVID-19: What’s Next for Online Teaching and Learning in Higher Education?

Improved Student Engagement in Higher Education’s Next Normal