Teaching Mycology During a Pandemic

Published by Cori VanGalder on

Teaching Mycology During a Pandemic

Submitted by Emily G. Cantonwine, MSA Education Committee Chair, Department of Biology, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA 31698, USA

In early March, the undergraduate students in my Introductory Mycology course had just entered the phase where they were looking for fungal specimens on their own and were having more successes in the laboratory than failures. In a typical semester, this momentum would have continued, and my students would have finished the course with much enthusiasm and mycological knowledge. However, after the course moved from a face-to-face to an online format due to the pandemic, the best my students and I could do was crawl to the end of the semester.

Like me, many members in our Society transitioned to teaching online last semester and will likely teach online courses again this fall semester having little training or experience with online education and instruction.

The MSA Education Committee is working diligently to provide educational information and resources to this segment of our membership for the delivery of mycology and lab-based content in an online environment. The Committee is fostering collaborations and conversations within our community in the following ways:

1. We are gathering instructional materials designed to engage students regardless of location, and sharing these materials at the Online Teaching Resources page on the MSA website. If you have a lab exercise, case study, simulation, or other engaging activity that you are willing to share, please submit your content to MSAeducation2020@gmail.com. Submissions will be posted anonymously unless otherwise requested.

2. Members with online and distance-education teaching experience are being asked to share their experiences and lessons learned by preparing and submitting a 3-minute video at the “Share your Video” link below. Your video could be about something that worked really well or a change you plan to make in the future. For an example video, check out what I learned about prerecorded lectures. Videos will be uploaded to the Online Teaching Resources page to share with MSA members. A selection of videos received before June 15, 2020, will be shown at the Online Teaching Symposium.

Share your video!

3. A symposium entitled Teaching Mycology Online – Lessons Learned is currently being organized for the MSA 2020 Mycology from the Cloud meeting. The symposium will include reflective perspectives from students, award-winning instructors, and members with experience teaching online and distance-education courses. We plan to tackle frequently asked questions about online instruction, so please share your question and/or concerns with us by selecting the link below.

Submit your biggest concern or challenge!

The MSA Education Committee, consisting of Sara Gremillion, Michelle Pearson, Chance Noffsinger, Marc Cubeta, and myself, are grateful for the support of this Society, and thank you in advance for your contribution and participation in these efforts.

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