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  • Writer's pictureChristina Trunnell

Good news in the classroom

There was some great participation in today's webinar on "Adding good news into online courses". Great questions and insights were shared from participants. I'll add the video recording link here as soon as it is done processing. For those who missed or joined in late, here's a quick guide to adding good news into your course.

In higher education, we know that in addition to subject matter, we are teaching how to be a college student, how to be an adult, how to engage with the world or the scholarly community, and more. How you engage with your students, to help them to not just understand but to interact with your material, to see its value in their world, to apply concepts, etc. is a teacher's constant challenge. Many of us are faced with the additional struggle of trying to do this in new ways and formats in a time when our students are struggling to connect, access, and even find value in the courses they are taking.

It is easy focus your attention and time on just getting information and assignments to your students. Yet, today more than ever, what you and your students need is to hold onto the one thing that defines us. Our Humanity.

Today humanity in the classroom is imperative.

Regardless of the subject that you teach, human connection is paramount in surviving and learning. Research has shown that this connection improves:

  • motivation

  • engagement

  • resilience

  • mental health

  • a sense of belonging

  • physical health

  • and more...

Adding some good news or moments of humanity to your course regularly will be valuable to you and your students. At least once a week is recommended. If you were teaching face to face, adding a some kind of human interaction as often as your class was previously schedule to meet will provide you all with a more connected sense of togetherness.

Ways to connect

  • Share some good news - a short video or article of good things happening in the world

  • Let your students share - created a wiki or discussion board where students can share a photo or statement of their favorite moment that week; ask them to share their favorite news sites

  • Share positivity from your field- share an article, link, or video about a positive way you or others in your field are making a difference today

  • Share Yourself - be honest about a moment you experienced, positive or not, in your teaching each week. This minimizes their frustration while connecting them with you as a human.

  • Create a helping space - you can't do everything. Make a place in your course shell for students to help each other with questions about the class, life, local resources, etc. This could start with you sharing the helping resources your institution has available to them.

  • Make an object space - a page or module in your course where you can post and students can readily access positive objects like a photo, poem, etc. that are less informational and more about connection like images from this Instagram page.

A few trusted sites for good news and inspiration sources (these sites have been sharing good news for years and have a wealth of it!)

For self-help, HackSpirit, TinyBuddha, and DailyOM are worth visiting.

And here's an old favorite to remind us all why humanity is worth sharing.

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