To simulate the organs of human body donors, Elon University students taking anatomy laboratory classes will instead use the computer software Primal Interactive.
“One of the things that's obviously different for students is no more hands-on in the laboratory,” said Matthew Clark, associate professor of biology. “We're prepared, so that software will be a useful resource that we will use and connect with students to technology that we are equipped with here at Elon that students will get an online experience.”
While experiential learning may be a pillar of Elon, President Connie Book announced the move from in-person to online classes after spring break to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
Clark said “all of us are in some ways negatively affected” by the suspension of in-person courses, but emphasized the importance of a positive attitude.
Some Elon faculty expressed hopes and concerns regarding the online adaption of experience-based courses, such as laboratory and performing arts classes.
“It may not be the norm, but what is the norm? This will be a new norm and it will also give faculty and students an opportunity to expand their horizons to learn in a different way,” Clark said.
Christopher Waters, associate vice president of information technology, said temporarily hosting online courses can allow professors to try new teaching methods.
“We may test some of the technologies we have out to see if they bring value, and sometimes a situation like this allows us that opportunity,” Waters said.
Professors are encouraged to use Moodle in the weeks after spring break. Waters said that while over 84% of faculty are on Moodle, other interfaces, such as WebEx, are also available for live streaming classes.
“If someone wants to incorporate live video or live engagement the tools are there,” Waters said.
A new "Faculty Resources for Remote Learning" tab has been added to IT's website to help answer concerns. Professors will also be able to attend faculty remote training sessions in Carol Grotnes Belk Library on Friday, March 13, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
These provided tools don’t accommodate all of Elon’s classes, students and faculty are finding ways to adapt to remote learning.
Dance major and senior Molly Jenks said she is prepared to dance in spaces outside of the Elon studios.
“That's what we're taught to do in higher-ed dance. Explore movement, spaces, whatever can influence our dance,” Jenks said.
Jenks is planning on sending YouTube videos of herself dancing to professors to illustrate what she learns in the weeks after spring break, when classes are online from March 23 to April 3. Jenks hopes this will give her an advantage in the future.
“I am prepared after this circumstance to say I have skills to do this maybe virtually,” Jenks said.
Though in-person courses have been suspended, Ann Bullock, dean of the School of Education, said student teachers will continue to work at local schools.
According to Bullock, student teachers have one Elon seminar class which will be conducted online after spring break, but students will “not be leaving the field.”