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Increasing Engagement Through Diversity and Inclusion

Almost all disciplines have long-standing traditions within their field that are the most widely accepted methods of conveying information to students. In a few specific traditional lecture courses, particularly Art History lectures, there is usually little room for discussion. Instead, there is one room, one projector, and an onslaught of slides and images all shown in the dark which only helps to create a comfortable environment for students to drift off and wake up suddenly when the light switch is abruptly flipped at the end of class. In addition to this issue, there have been many concerns as to how those images are chosen, how the information is presented, and which parts of the art history timeline are given more attention than others. This seems to be of importance for many areas of study, however these issues came to light for me through teaching Art History. Hip Pendant Representing an Iyoba Queen (‘Queen Mother’). 16th century. Nigeria, Court of Benin, Edo culture. (Metrop
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Online Teaching & Learning in the Time of COVID-19

This past August faculty members from VSCC attended the University of Wisconsin’s Distance Education Teaching and Learning Conference. Like so many other conferences being held during the time of the pandemic, this four-day teleconference offered a large variety of online sessions, interactive and streaming, focused on the how to best meet college students’ needs to help them be successful during these challenging times. One of the most refreshing and valuable aspects of this year’s conference was the focus on how online higher education and educators are working hard to meet the moment of our current national situation. Not only did keynote addresses and session discussions center on the challenges of distance education during the pandemic, but also many discussed the ways to create antiracist curriculum as we address concerns voiced by the Black Lives Matters Movement. The keynote speaker, Dr. Newton Miller, focused on how faculty can connect real-world issues to our teaching, remin

Virtual Learning 2020: Reimagining Chemistry Online

The year 2020 has been an extraordinary and challenging year, to say the least.  However, as educators teaching chemistry, a subject that requires problem-solving and critical thinking, we were abruptly forced to solve the problem of delivering course content for lecture and lab amid the pandemonium of a pandemic, COVID-19.  A year ago, neither of us would have thought it was possible to deliver an online version of chemistry that was equivalent to our on-ground course.  However, the silver lining of the pandemic was the innovation, collaboration, and modification as we agreed we will not do our students a disservice in the continuation of a quality education. March 2020, as we departed campus for our annual spring-break we never imagined what was to come; NO ONE CAN RETURN TO CAMPUS?  We had a week to get our courses ready to be completely online. But did online have to mean the traditional format that so many of our students refer to as “teaching themselves” (asynchronous). Could w

The Power of Creative Arts in Online Instruction

In a time of immense uncertainty, worry, and fear, we can all lean into the long lasting power of the Creative Arts as many of us transition from face-to-face to online learning. The power of learning through the arts is associated with a deeper understanding of concepts through multi-layered dimensional learning. Visual Art, Music, Dance, and Drama have preserved our histories, cultures, and stories throughout the ages. In addition to preservation of our ancestral roots, the Arts have allowed us to connect to a deeper sense of understanding regarding community and self. Have you all seen the recent viral video of hundreds of Italians singing from their apartment windows in various melodies creating a sense of calmness through music during social isolation? The power of the Arts for much of history has allowed communities to come together and create a cohesion that can be felt in a deeper level. When we create with our mind, body, and heart we are able to learn with multiple senses f