May 26, 11:50 – 12:00
- Yangqiang Qi is a Senior Forestry Learning Tech Rover in the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia
- Michelle Zeng is Senior Manager of Educational Strategies in the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia
The education of forestry has been characterized by courses that require high levels of in-person attendance and field-based activities. The restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic have presented significant challenges to the delivery of these courses over the past two years. To adapt to this, the Faculty of Forestry at UBC explored different strategies to allow hybrid teaching and learning. An instructional support unit within the faculty was established to provide timely help during the transition of course delivery modes. Guidelines, tip-sheets, and workshops regarding the use of diverse learning technologies were organized to help instructors become familiar with hybrid teaching of forestry courses. Various modes of hybrid teaching and learning, such as multi-access, synchronous, asynchronous, and multi-section, were employed based on the characteristics of course content. For field-intensive courses, we supported instructors to prepare video clips that enable students to virtually experience fieldwork. Assignments (e.g. weekly journals) were designed to encourage the exploration of natural environments in students’ local regions. Following these assignments, in-person and/or online discussions were set up to promote communication, reflection, and engagement. For lab-intensive courses, we improved students’ remote access to computer labs to allow the use of professional software. Meanwhile, online and in-person lab sessions were run concurrently to accommodate students with accessibility needs. For lecture-intensive courses, we helped instructors integrate both low- (e.g. Zoom on laptops, voice recorder on cell phones) and high-tech (e.g. in-classroom cameras) equipment to facilitate hybrid teaching with live streaming and recording options. Overall, our strategies were effective as both instructors and students were satisfied with their experiences. Moving forward, we foresee that hybrid teaching and learning will build up efforts to further improve the equity, accessibility, diversity, and inclusion.