Fall 2020 Reflections

This semester I have been able to successfully implement several practices from the Trauma-Informed Pedagogy seminar in my Speech 100 class. My goal was to focus on Principle 4: Collaboration and Mutuality (Carello, 2014). Building a strong community in an online course is a challenge for any subject, but for Speech it is extra challenging simply due to the nature of the material. So much of what we teach in Public Speaking – things like eye contact, analyzing the audience, nonverbal skills, etc. are by their nature difficult to replicate in an online environment.

By building a strong community within the class through collaboration I was hoping to promote student engagement. The main way that I tried to do this was through the Discussion Boards. Every week students were required to post a reply to a prompt and then within two days they needed to read and respond to at least two other classmates. At first it was difficult because they didn’t know each other and responses were generic. Through feedback and clear structure – emphasizing that I was not grading on content, or looking for a specific type of response, students were free to respond however they wished –  I was able to get most students to respond more authentically and with more detail. Giving students agency is key to promoting engagement. By giving students more general prompts and the freedom to choose speech topics and areas of research, I feel that this promoted engagement. 

Other practices that I implemented were diligently using Connect2Success. I am not a fan of this system but it was another way that I used to try and reach students who weren’t participating. This was in addition to greatly expanding my office hours, I met with students whenever was convenient for them and I was much more lenient and understanding with lateness. I think flexibility is the key word and I like to think that I was very flexible and put into practice what was written in my syllabus about “life happening” and ways to reach out for support.

One Reply to “Fall 2020 Reflections”

  1. Angela,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences this semester using Trauma Informed Pedagogy! It’s wonderful that the Discussion Boards promoted engagement & community. I wonder, was Connect2Success effective for re-engaging students and how did you expand your office hours? Being flexible and offering support humanizes the learning environment! Thanks for sharing! Be well, jen

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