Assessment Grant Spring 2021
Judith Martínez, PhD & María Cerdas, Ph.D.
Modern and Classical Languages
Last year as COVID-19 shifted we decided to assess our instruction and pedagogical strategies to adjust our teaching for improvement of student learning and engagement. Our goal was to evaluate students’ perceptions on the transition to online, blended and hybrid formats while navigating through the COVID-19 crisis and uncertain.
Several students had never taken a course in a format different than seated and the transition was important to maintain student engagement and to provide the same quality of learning for everyone regardless of the course format decided at the beginning of the semester before COVID-19 hit. In other words, faculty needed to adjust, reinvent and rethink ways of effective teaching, sometimes in all formats at once.
It was essential to keep in mind equity, as many students were not prepared with technological and space resources to take courses remotely due to family responsibilities or socio-economic status among other aspects. If faculty was not careful, equity during a time of crisis would not be achieved if different options and especially flexibility were not offered to students.
WHAT MSU ALREADY HAS
- MSU offered hot spots for wifi for students in their residences. A small stipend was provided to certain students to help with tuition. Students had the choice of pass or fail if they decided this was the best for them academically. Students were able to check out computers from library.
- Extended hours of training and professional development for faculty to use different teaching platforms such as TEAMS, ZOOM, WEBEX, CATALYST and Blackboard among others.
The goal of this assessment was to evaluate what strategies of teaching, and communication served students in our language courses the most to be able to continue to use them and adjust or improve any deficiencies that were potential barriers to teaching and learning a foreign language.
- Give students and faculty the tools to improve teaching online and hybrid course.
- Students expressed it would be helpful to have a uniform platform as each faculty opted for a different one, causing them to try to learn all at once or having to switch multiple times for different assignments.
- Students also expressed they appreciated quick availability as this reduces their level of anxiety especially during times of uncertainty.
- Students appreciated flexibility with deadlines, while having a structure or suggested timeline.
- In our courses they appreciated recommended material that pertained to culture in order to take advantage of technology tools to improve language acquisition. Apps such as duolingo and connect, or language lab were helpful.
- Students also stated they appreciated the continuation of regular check ins for accountability purposes.
- Students expressed their interests in projects that pertained to cultural aspects of the language that allowed them to maintain a connection with the Latin American Culture.
We reiterated the need to be well prepared in different technological platforms in order to provide different tools for students to practice the language.
We will continue with zoom student/office hours to allow for regular check ins and student questions should they have any one-on-one.
We will continue to have consistency in our calendar and workload for organizational purposes, which students expressed was helpful during times of uncertainty.
We will continue to use cultural projects as a way to engage them in the Latin American world, and the Spanish Language as this maintains their motivation.