Graphic by Summer Cox
AACC professors told Campus Current in October that they are open to suggestions and feedback from students who are taking their online classes.
Some online students complained that because each professor sets up Canvas differently, they sometimes have trouble finding assignments and due dates. They also said they miss the human interaction and face-to-face assistance of the physical classroom.
“I think the only challenge is just seeing where professors are posting items,” Monica Harrington, a cybersecurity student, said. “Some professors have one way that they post things and then Professor Erik Dunham of the Visual Arts department mentioned that because of differences in subject matter and department rules, total consistency throughout all of a student’s online courses would be difficult to achieve.
Visual arts professor Erik Dunham said because requirements differ from course to course and teaching styles differ from professor to professor, the setup of Canvas “classrooms” will organically vary.
“Presenting, say, a web design class on Canvas would be very different than presenting, say, a biology class on Canvas or an accounting class on Canvas,” Dunham said. The professors “have very different goals for their students and very different information to present.”
Still, he added, “We do follow best practices, regardless of our particular discipline. And we do collaborate. We talk to each other as professors and say, ‘Hey, what are you doing? How does this work? Did you find out a way to do this better for your students?’”
And, he said, most professors welcome feedback from their students.
“Any kind of user feedback is worth its weight in gold,” Dunham said. “As a professor, the fact that students are showing up to learn in these times that are tough and difficult, I am so excited to see them. And I’m so excited to help them.”
“I feel like all the professors in my department are actively seeking feedback,” said cybersecurity student Monica Harrington. “Like, let us know. Please, any way that you need help, let us know. If you need help, we can give it to you.”
Some professors hold office hours via video chat or invite students to set up video appointments at their convenience.
“This online format is much more fluid,” political science professor Dan Nataf said. “This environment seems much more adaptive, flexible. It’s the opposite of bureaucracy, right? It’s really, you know, go with the flow to try to make things work. And so that’s been my attitude. I meet people whenever they can.”
Computer science professor Will Seabrook agreed.
“When we go back to classroom teaching, I may keep some Zoom office hours, just because it’s so easy, both for myself and students to have something available online like this,” he said.