March 18th, 2020. For me, this day will forever mark the day we all went home and entered a new world, an unknown world, a world where we all had to reimagine our work and home lives. None of us knew how all-encompassing this new world would be for us, yet here we are, almost one year later, still standing (or sitting, as the case may be…)
For me, the first weeks I spent in this new world are now a blur as the college pivoted and everyone moved online. Then April hit, and a new term was fast approaching. We in eLearning began to offer workshops – workshops up the wazoo. In the old world, there were no workshops planned for April, but in the end and on the fly, in the four weeks in April we ran 20+ workshops for faculty on D2L, Collaborate, Kaltura, facilitating online learning, creating online community, online assessments, and accessibility in the online classroom. At the end of every day, every day being 10-12 hours long (workshops, consults, emails…), I could not think or hold myself upright. Yes, it was exciting to help faculty and run workshops with 20-30 people in them (people now know who we are!), but exhausting. And not just because of those endless consults, workshops and emails, but also because I heard their stories. Faculty in tears trying to get things ready for spring and afraid they couldn’t do it. Faculty worried because they didn’t know where they could turn for help. Faculty up for the challenge, but not knowing how they could get everything planned to the quality they expected from themselves.
Then, the spring term began, while workshops, consults, and meetings continued to keep faculty supported, while planning ahead to the next day, week, month, and term.
I have to tell you, and I am not trying to sound trite: faculty at Camosun are all heroes. From the faculty members who pivoted into remote panicked instruction in March (believe me, this was NOT “online learning”), to faculty who gave up vacation, Scheduled Development, and other plans to get their spring and fall courses ready for online instruction (some of them developing 2-3 courses in weeks, when it takes 2 months or ideally more to develop ONE online course – I don’t have to tell you it is not a simple matter to take a face-to-face course, even one you’ve taught multiple times, and put it into an online format), to faculty who spent (and continue to spend) many additional hours every day continuing to develop their courses while they taught, while trying to support their students, who also didn’t sign up for this. And in addition to all the amazing faculty I am privileged to work with and support, I have to take a moment to acknowledge my colleagues in the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning – I am not sure I would still be here without you having my back.
And now, almost one year later, I want to tell the stories of our faculty to the world. So, I am embarking on a new series of posts where I will present interviews with some of our faculty at Camosun College. You will meet amazing instructors from English Language Development, Nursing, Business, English, Anthropology, Psychology, Statistics, Child, Family and Community Services, Hospitality, Trades, and many, many more – I am adding every day to the list of folks I will be talking to this term. I want to thank all of them for agreeing to share their experiences, both highs, and lows, with me and with the world.
Stay tuned for my first faculty interview post next week. And if you teach at Camosun and would like to share your story, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.