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Reflections on e-Learning by Kristie Camp

My transition to E-Learning:

  • I teach 11th graders in AP English Language and Composition and 12th graders in English 102 (this semester) in our dual enrollment partnership with Spartanburg Community College.
  • My school, Gaffney High School, is a one-to-one school, which means every student receives a device to use for all their school work, and this year, we made the move to using Chromebooks; so, all of my students had their own school-issued Chromebook when the shutdown was announced.
  • I already had my students on the Remind messaging system, which allows me to send one text that reaches all my students’ phones without an exchange of phone numbers, so when we first heard that we might be closing schools, I sent them information as I received it through Remind.
  • My 11th graders use our online learning management system called Canvas, and they were also already used to submitting work online through Canvas.
  • My 12th graders, who are considered students at SCC through this dual enrollment program, used SCC’s online management system, which is called D2L Brightspace; they, too, were already used to submitting assignments online through D2L.
  • Class time, however, had always been reserved for direct instruction, practice, and teacher feedback, and that is what we missed tremendously when we transitioned to complete e-learning.
  • When the shutdown first happened, I used Remind messages to contact my students and keep them up to date on information as I received it.
  • Then, our school offered a pick-up time for paper assignments under the initial order to shutdown schools starting on March 16.
  • After our spring break, however, starting on April 13, we moved to electronic communication only.
  • That first week at home, though, I began sending a daily video update to my students through Remind. They were full of questions, so each evening, I would record myself talking to them just to update them on what I heard and learned from our principal about how we would be managing assignments and sports and meetings, etc.
  • Eventually, though, those first few video updates became a daily part of our communication. Each afternoon, I record myself talking for about 2- 4 minutes in which I greet them, discuss any new information I have received, remind them of what they should be working on, and end with a literary quote and a silly joke. I have even added a title page for each day, along with a written reminder on the credits at the end. I upload these messages to YouTube as unlisted videos, and then I send my students the link each afternoon on Remind.
  • I have tried to vary the places I record sometimes, such as recording from my front yard or while I was walking on a trail. Plus, I have sent them a link to an update song to cheer them up.
  • I also post regular reminders on Canvas and D2L on their announcements page so they can read and link to important websites.
  • I send my AP students links to College Board YouTube videos that discuss changes to the AP exam and that present review preparation tips and examples for them. I also send them links to AP review sessions on Fiveable, an online AP preparation website. I send them these links on Remind and on their announcements page on Canvas.

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