Logan University is no stranger to virtual learning. For years, we’ve offered entire degree programs completely online within the College of Health Sciences. Students are able to further their education on their time, from the comfort of their home, no matter what country, continent or time zone they are in.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, students and teachers across the globe were thrown into virtual learning with only a moment’s notice. For some, like Professor Patrick Montgomery, DC, MS, FASA, the transition was fairly smooth.
“I’ve taught online classes before, so I had a pretty good handle on the situation from a technology standpoint,” said Dr. Montgomery. “However, this quick shift presented a new set of challenges. Courses that had historically been in-person were now required to be offered online.”
This created a lot of work for professors on the back end. Aside from learning new technologies to make content available to students virtually, professors at Logan were tasked with creating digital content that would be just as effective as in-person instruction.
“A lot of professors, including myself, have been utilizing discussion boards in our online classes. They are a phenomenal way to see if the students are really understanding the material you provide them,” Dr. Montgomery said. “The professor poses a question that students are required to respond to, then they’re asked to comment on two of their classmates’ posts. So, each week, I am reading and grading over 500 student responses.”
The time commitment does not phase Dr. Montgomery – he’s willing to put the hours in to ensuring his students’ success, just like the rest of his colleagues. There may have been a few bumps in the road, but Logan made the transition to online learning feasible for students and professors alike. Some professors, like Dr. Montgomery, have even grown to love certain facets of virtual teaching.
“Once things go back to normal, one aspect of virtual classes that I believe will continue to be incorporated into in-person classes are narrated PowerPoint presentations,” Dr. Montgomery said. “Traditional PowerPoints only offer the text on the slide, but when narration is added, the professor is able to enhance the text with even more information. They’re also great for the students to have access to after class to review a topic that was unclear or help them study.”
After all, Dr. Montgomery says, the key to learning is repetition.
“You’re going to get out what you put in,” said Dr. Montgomery. “In order to make the most of your online courses, you have to read the material and watch all the videos available to you. Take time to study, practice and commit these topics to memory. You’re only going to do as well as the time you put into making yourself successful.”
As for students who are taking online courses for the first time and are finding themselves anxious about these changes, Dr. Montgomery offers words of wisdom: “I’m going to give those students the same advice I give to all the new tri ones at orientation each trimester: stay on top of the material. Never fall behind because the material comes too fast and there is so much of it.
“Additionally, block off time each day that would correlate with the time you’d normally be on campus. Do your coursework, research and studying during that time to keep yourself on a consistent schedule. Change can be tough, but so are you.”