Recipe for Successful Remote Instruction: Collaboration, Adaptability, and Innovation

During Spring Quarter 2020, Northwestern and institutions across the globe entered into a new way of teaching and learning. Neither the student nor faculty population changed. There was no shift in the University’s commitment to academic rigor. So, what changed? Overnight, instruction moved from a face-to-face modality to online. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University had to reimagine everything about instruction, and it had to be done quickly. This challenge, the ability and willingness to reimagine teaching, and a zeal for lifelong learning led Stephen Hersh, Medill School of Journalism lecturer and former advertising executive, on a new path in his teaching career. In July, Inside Higher Ed published a feature on Hersh’s ability to leverage Zoom as a new medium to engage his students in active learning.

In the article, Hersh outlines his own process of active learning and details the way—by continually seeking feedback from his students—he successfully adapted to remote instruction via Zoom.

Hersh’s success is built on a long history of learning about teaching. He has collaborated extensively with Northwestern IT Teaching and Learning Technologies’ Senior Learning Engineer, Reginald Jackson, to develop both remote and in-person strategies. In addition, Hersh has also incorporated some of the improv acting techniques taught by Byron Stewart, an adjunct lecturer in the McCormick School of Engineering, Office of Personal Development, into his teaching practice. The two even co-facilitated a 2019 TEACHx workshop focused on the benefits of seeking out and adapting to feedback from engaged students, among other best practices. In the end, the University’s new remote learning environment allowed Hersh to expand these practices to leverage Zoom as a new medium.

Read the full Inside Higher Ed article: “Yes, Your Zoom Teaching Can Be First-Rate.”