Instructor adapts to online teaching challenges

PNW faculty have struggled teaching classes online this year.  

“I do not like doing this,” said Diana Underwood, who teaches math to education majors. “I like teaching in person.”

Underwood has been wrestling with all kinds of challenges, from technical glitches to providing remote access to some teaching resources. 

It’s all about juggling and improvising.

“I have four different electronic devices that I have different apps that I use for teaching classes,” said Underwood. “Instead of using the childhood counting blocks, used in the past classes, students have an alternative for learning Base 8 counting, popsicle sticks.

She has personally tracked down teaching tools on Google and other online sources like Jam Board to help students interact with their classmates and GeoGebra to produce tools for her geometry class. 

Jacob Price, a senior elementary education student, said Underwood has worked hard to make the class engaging.

“Even though the class is online, she is still good at making it a classroom community,” he said. “Professor Underwood makes an effort to keep that environment to promote the classroom community.” 

And the work does not stop when the class ends.

Thoughsome might think that professors have reduced their office hours during the pandemic, Underwood has made herself even more available to students, often meeting during the weekend, or outside her normal office hours. 

“I have met with students at different times,” she said, explaining that some meetings have lasted for hours as she tutored students on some math concepts. 

“It is very interesting teaching online,” explained Underwood.