When Cornell shifted from in-person classes to virtual instruction in March 2020, individual faculty members were asked to quickly implement new technologies and strategies for keeping students engaged online. Though many had limited experience teaching via Zoom, they rose to the occasion.
Some produced scripted video lectures filled with music and video clips, some invited guest lecturers from around the world to Zoom in and share their expertise, and some incorporated online polls to encourage students to interact in real time via chat. Faculty whose subject matter required in-person instruction incorporated outdoor classes, small group instruction to maintain social distancing, and even fun costumes and music to raise students’ spirits—while keeping them safe.
As the new academic year begins, we reached out to several faculty members across campus to share the lessons they’ve learned. Here, nine Cornell faculty members relay how they pivoted to respond to the pandemic, what the experience taught them, and how these insights have led to lasting innovations in their classrooms.