Fall 2020 Plan and Covid-19 Resource Page.

Faculty Perspective: Rayna Hirst, Ph.D. on Adapting Her Courses to COVID-19 Demands

Tuesday, March 31, 2020
The COVID-19 situation has revealed to me a flexibility and adaptability in Palo Alto University that makes me proud to be a professor here. Students, staff, and faculty are going through a unique, stressful, and challenging situation that is testing our abilities to their limits. Yet the technological capabilities of PAU have allowed me to adapt my three graduate-level courses quite easily to an online format. 
We already utilize an online teaching platform for grading, readings, and assignments, and so the transition included 1) utilizing Zoom to hold a live class session, and 2) adapting my exam to an online format. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about all that PAU's online examination software has to offer - including utilizing webcams and audio software to ensure that all students are completing the exam under equivalent conditions, which reassures students of a level playing field. Further, my previous familiarity with Zoom made the switch to an online classroom smooth and seamless. 
Although my class next quarter presents unique challenges, being an assessment-focused course, leadership at PAU has been working closely with me and the Library services staff to ensure that students have access to the assessment record forms, manuals, and stimuli that are needed to teach competency in this field. 
I am proud that PAU is at the forefront of the field in adapting undergraduate and graduate courses to an online format to help students cope with this difficult situation and maintain as much normalcy as possible. 
Further, I have appreciated that leadership continually check in with faculty and ask how they can support us. It has made it easier for me to focus on checking in with my own students and supporting them. My students have expressed appreciation for the comfortability faculty have with using online systems such as Canvas and Zoom, and this has made it possible for me to schedule more one-on-one meetings with them to check in on their well-being (both mental and physical). 
Rayna Hirst, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Director, Neuropsychology Program
You can read more about Palo Alto University's response to COVID-19 here. We have also set up a Student Emergency Fund for our students in need during this crisis. Click here to learn more or donate.
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