Connected From Home: Meet Melissa Deane

Melissa Deane, Work From Home, Remote LearningOne thing Engineering Instructor Melissa Deane, is really going to miss this year is standing at the front of class in September and going through the hectic first few weeks of the fall semester. Deane is an electrical engineer, has been teaching at CBU for the past four years and is also a very proud CBU alumna. This year, she will be shifting her teaching methods to adapt to the online learning environment. “I am looking forward to putting some of the new ideas and plans into practice that I’ve acquired over the past couple months,” says Deane. “I am also very proud that CBU has taken these steps to keep students, faculty and staff safe and supported come September.”

In preparation for the online transition, Deane participated in the University Training Program (UTP) organized by the Centre for Teaching and Learning. “While the content was interesting and quite engaging, my favorite aspect was really just seeing the remote learning environment from a student’s perspective,” shares Deane. “I gained some new ideas for my courses, and made some changes to how I had first planned to deliver my courses online.” 

The biggest change Deane is making relates to her grading process. She will be putting more weight on online participation, group work and assignments while focusing less on testing. “Since participation is more heavily weighted, I developed a participation rubric for my courses after getting the idea from the UTP course,” explains Deane. “This shows the students exactly what I’ll be looking for as far as marking is concerned, and it also gives them a guide to progress through this different learning environment.”

The great benefit of online learning in Deane’s opinion is that there will be records of everything, especially with asynchronous delivery. She notes that this is very convenient given the fact that some students will be in different time zones, so students will be able to re-watch any lecture or review the forum posts at any time. “This mode of delivery has much more preparation involved with it,” says Deane. “It almost feels like I am building my courses from scratch and I’m learning a lot while I’m doing it!”

Some simple but crucial advice Deane would like to share with students that in an online learning environment students may tend to feel more alone and isolated. She even felt this way as a faculty member during the transition last winter. “When we started to meet virtually as a department, or in small groups, it was a huge relief to hear that others had the same doubts or questions that I had,” shares Deane. “If any students are missing that connection, you could set up some virtual coffee chats with other students or just send a message to your instructor or professor.”

Deane wants CBU students to know that there is so much work going on behind the scenes to ensure this upcoming semester is as meaningful as any other. “I’d also like to suggest to students to get involved, considering that there are lots of opportunities for students to help out or volunteer with different initiatives virtually,” says Deane. “We may be without a physical campus this semester, but we all know that it’s the people that make CBU the institution we are so proud of, and we are all still here for you!”