As Oregon State University switched to remote learning to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, honors biochemistry and molecular biology student Maja Engler was among those facing the challenge of a sudden change to a new way of learning. Among the classes she took in the fully remote spring term was HSTS 440H History of Psychotherapy, taught by College of Liberal Arts professor Mina Carson.
HSTS 440H is a reading-intensive course that explores the history of psychotherapy in western societies from multiple perspectives. Like many honors courses, History of Psychotherapy is a discussion-based class — a feature which was challenging to adapt to a remote learning environment.
“It’s very difficult to have these conversations over Zoom,” Maja says. “When class started, everyone was hesitant and didn’t know where to start.”
When conversations died down, however, Dr. Carson helped build them up again. “She was very good at asking questions and getting us back on track and stimulating different thought processes,” Maja says. “If it was a particularly quiet day, she would take over and take us down some interesting paths.”
While class discussions were difficult at times, they were also the best part of the course: “[The class was] so supportive; no idea or comment was ever shot down,” Maja says. “Everyone felt very safe and comfortable sharing ideas they had about the readings.”
Throughout the challenges of remote learning, everyone did their part to make HSTS 440H a fun and successful remote course.
“All my professors, especially Dr. Carson, were so lenient and flexible,” she says. Even if last term was bumpy at first, every small step forward taught both students and professors what makes a remote course successful.