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Two Week to Go: How To Finish A Semester Strong, Online

Stories, know-how, and guidance from the experts in educating boys.

Graham Callaghan

Two Week to Go: how To Finish A Semester Strong, Online

On November 20, our campus closed according to plan, and we will re-open for the second semester in mid-January. From December 1—December 16, however, our entire population of students will be learning remotely online, so we will follow a modified schedule of synchronous class meetings via Zoom to finish the first semester.

To mitigate Zoom fatigue, the schedule is similar to the one that we used when campus closed last spring; it features alternating days with fewer class meetings each day for shorter periods of time.

While synchronous meeting time is valuable for face-to-face interaction, it does have its limits. Recent studies raise questions about exactly how effective live and real-life Zoom meetings are, given the absence of body language which is especially important to in-person, relational classroom learning. To keep learning active, teachers are continuing to create personalized asynchronous content to inform the live class meetings.

Students who have become used to relying on the asynchronous content and enrichment sessions with teachers looked forward to joining Zoom classes at the end of the semester. There are still some challenges presented by time zone differences, but with fewer class meetings scheduled each day, students overseas are finding it reasonable or even more convenient to attend one or two class meetings later in the evening. Attending those classes may even fit better into their teenage sleep patterns!

Although most, if not all, Avon students have experienced remote learning, we held advisor group meetings prior to leaving campus to help prepare students for this remote learning period. As part of those meetings, each advisee completed a self-assessment questionnaire about his learning style and study habits, and advisors reviewed expectations and best practices for success with Zoom class meetings and managing assignments. Our learning center also created a guide: Remote Learning Tips from the Bigelow Learning Center.

We are hopeful that these two weeks will prove fruitful for our students, and cannot wait to have them back on campus again in January.


About the Author

GRAHAM CALLAGHAN '95

Dean of Studies, English Teacher