ECOS and Dean Come Together to Improve Online Learning

Story By

Mark Graven

 Staff Writer

CNM’S Executive Council of Students (ECOS) met with the Phil Lister, dean of  the Math, Science and Engineering School at CNM, to chart a path forward in improving remote learning in science and math courses.  

Dean Lister, who engaged ECOS board members concerns at their regular meeting of March 19th via a Jitzi link, which students can access on Fridays at 2 p.m.

By the end of the meeting Lister said he would be contacting members of his faculty to encourage more lecture sessions with students, and more faculty/student interaction generally.

ECOS board members say they have been fielding complaints from students  that some on-line math and science courses lack a real-time lecture component in which students can ask professors questions to clarify difficult concepts.

Lister said he would like to hear personally from students that might be dissatisfied with their faculty interaction time, so that problems can be addressed.

“I want to hear from students”  said Lister.  “It can be scary for students to raise concerns.  I want to assure students that we are friendly.”

He said that some faculty may have had a harder time adjusting to remote learning in Covid times. And these faculty members could be given assistance.  

ECOS members suggested that professors with recorded lectures could share them with other professors that have had difficulty in on-line lecturing.

ECOS members have taken the position that recorded lectures are better than no lecture at all. The have also said that it helps science and math students to see problems worked on a whiteboard.

Lister said that not all students prefer lecture, but he agreed with ECOS members that courses, and sections of courses, that do have lectures, could be indicated in the course catalogue, or some other means.

“It is important that students know what to expect,” said ECOS President Alex Crossland. 

Dean Lister agreed with ECOS members that students had a right to know what type of learning experience they are signing up for.

Board Vice President Imane Bahji, who has spearheaded the ECOS’s effort to inject more lecture in on-line math and science courses, said she was pleased with Dean Lister’s responses, but that ECOS would still have to  “keep our eyes out.”

ECOS members said they want on-line improvements implemented by the start of the upcoming summer semester.

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