Putting power into remote learning

Sacha Joseph-Mathews

Students will be able to use different modalities to show what they have learned.

“Since we are not physically together in class we need to find different ways to connect and have fun during this stressful time for everyone.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused University of the Pacific to continue with remote instruction this fall, professors have been working diligently behind the scenes to innovate remote learning and use technology to create new ways for students to showcase what they have learned.

“I have been teaching online for parts of the last seven years,” said Sacha Joseph-Mathews, associate professor of marketing at Pacific’s Eberhardt School of Business. “Remote instruction has made me think outside the box as a professor and teach in different ways than if I was teaching in-person.”

When Pacific moved to remote learning in March, the majority of professors had only one week to transition their in-person classes to a virtual environment. However, as we enter the fall semester, professors have been pouring everything they can to create a high-quality online experience.

Joseph-Mathews has redesigned her courses to provide a more personal touch for students and find multiple ways to connect with them. Every Monday morning she will be sending students a voice note explaining what they will be discussing in their classes that week and the first two minutes of class will be for joke telling or sharing positive stories.

“Since we are not physically together in class we need to find different ways to connect and have fun during this stressful time for everyone,” explained Joseph-Mathews

Students also will be given 20 minutes once a week to work in small groups on a project instead of having to meet outside of their classes.

“I found it was difficult for students to meet virtually in small groups outside of our designated time together,” said Joseph-Mathews. “I want to provide students with the opportunity to be successful and to also support each other’s academic success.”

Joseph-Mathews’ students will have the opportunity to work on projects outside of the traditional research papers or PowerPoint presentations to which they have grown accustomed. To learn more about pricing modules, students will be tasked with recording themselves cooking an international dish. They will then need to research one of the key ingredients and compare the market for that good internationally versus in the United States.

“I’m excited for students to be able to embrace technology and have a different modality to show what they have learned,” said Joseph-Mathews. “I’m also looking forward to seeing what they cook. I am always impressed with their creativity.”

Another thing students can look forward to in Joseph-Mathews’ courses this semester is acquiring extra credit opportunities through a virtual rainy day points jar. Students can earn points by participating in discussions, being active or telling a good joke at the beginning of class.”

"In life you can make up for areas where you are insufficient by being a team-player or staying late at the office," said Joseph-Mathews. "The virtual rainy day points jar reflects real-life and a workplace environment. It’s all about embracing the opportunities presented to you and taking advantage of them."