Online Neuroscience Instruction: Insights, Lessons Learned, and Moving Forward
Beth E. F. Wee
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us had little to no experience with online teaching. With the realization that we would need to teach our students remotely during the pandemic, we needed to develop our online teaching skills and apply this knowledge to create effective online classes for our students. Tulane University’s Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT, http://celt.tulane.edu) and its Innovative Learning Center (ILC, http://it.tulane.edu/innovative-learning-center) partnered to teach an Online Teaching Training (OTT) course for all instructors. This five-week session covered many of the topics needed to teach an engaging and interactive online course. The training included not only the theory but also practical applications of many resources available to online course instructors. This training prepared me to teach a fully online course for the first time in Summer, 2020 and again the following summer. Student evaluations compared between the Emergency Remote Learning done in quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Spring 2020) and the online course after completion of the OTT (Summer 2020) indicated that student experiences were much more positive when taught by a trained instructor. Many of the resources/techniques for online courses can be incorporated into in-person or hybrid classes, and vice versa. Further, sharing ideas among colleagues, especially as new resources become available, is critical for the success of all instructors. In this article I share my lessons learned, insights, and thoughts for moving forward as we approach a new era of neuroscience instruction.