The sudden shift to remote learning in spring term was challenging for students and faculty alike. Remote learning can feel isolating, and finding an engaging environment can be key to staying connected to other people and to class material. Honors psychology student Shrida Sharma found that supportive and engaging environment in BI 311H Genetics.
BI 311H is a four-credit course taught by Dr. Michael Blouin that covers Mendelian, quantitative, population, molecular, and developmental genetics. Dr. Blouin’s strategy to adapt the class to a remote teaching environment was to maintain as much of the in-person course structure as possible through Zoom. For Shrida, that strategy gave the class a comforting sense of normalcy in an otherwise unusual term.
“That class was definitely the most normal class I could’ve taken in that situation,” Shrida says. “[It] kept me sane because of how normal it felt.”
One of the things that made the course successful was the small class size. With a capacity of fourteen people, it was easy to make lectures interactive and group discussions productive.
“My peers were very involved,” Shrida says. “I loved talking to my groups in breakout rooms.”
Having a small, involved group of peers and a caring professor made all the difference in creating an environment that was as typical as possible during an undeniably atypical time.
“[Dr. Blouin] made things work for us… that’s why I appreciated him so much,” Shrida says. “It was the most normal of all the classes I’ve taken online.”