The New Normal: How the Pandemic Has Innovated Teaching

a finance professor teaching students with innovative methods derived from the pandemic

Professors everywhere are facing a new reality – it seems that everything we thought we knew about teaching has been flipped on its head. Really, the building blocks of good teaching have always been the same. What has changed are the methods used to implement them. Throughout the pandemic, finance professors have come to rely on video conferences, virtual classrooms, and online assignments instead of in-person classes, tutoring sessions, and written exams.

Now that there is a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, let us look at which innovative teaching methods are worth keeping for the future.

1. Flexible Pacing

The pandemic forced professors to rethink the structure of their courses. Whereas in the past, a well-planned lesson plan kept the class on a specific timeline, online classes have afforded students much more flexibility to learn at their own pace. 

That flexibility has both good and not-so-good aspects, but the consensus is that the upside outweighs the risks. There will always be students who use the extra flexibility to shirk responsibilities, but there will be far more who can either slow down to better comprehend the material, as well as those who will voluntarily move on to more challenging material when they finish early. 

All in all, the added flexibility creates a more conducive environment for students from all walks of life to thrive. 

2. Student Engagement

Creative approaches to getting students talking and participating became a staple of the pandemic. Fostering an interactive environment was much more difficult to achieve through a screen. Students were prone to get distracted and check-out of the conversation. 

Some of the difficulty can certainly be chalked up to the fact that engagement is more difficult virtually, but this medium also showed us that many in-person lesson plans just were not necessarily designed to foster engagement – any “engagement” was simply a result of having a captive audience.

The increased creativity and effort that was invested into student engagement in the time of digital teaching would serve any professor well as they transition back into live presentations.

3. Virtual Guests

Getting guest speakers in class can be difficult in the traditional setting. But in virtual classes, it is no more difficult than scheduling a Zoom call. That opens a whole new world of possibilities for professors to invite colleagues of various specialties to speak to their class and broaden their horizons. 

Moving back into the classroom does not necessarily mean that professors have to go back to all of the old ways of doing things. Going forward, professors should continue to utilize virtual guest speakers and teachers to keep things fresh and give students a richer learning experience.

4. Online Tutoring

One-on-one online meetings became a staple of pandemic-era teaching. It was necessary to find ways to connect with students or to offer further assistance to those who wanted it. Keeping this avenue open will only improve a professor’s approachability and invites students to connect and seek help with fewer barriers.

Giving students more ways to connect, both in and out of the classroom, can only enhance your teaching ability. This is a trend that professors should absolutely carry into the post-pandemic world.

The New Norm: Striking the Right Balance

During the pandemic, there was very little choice in how to proceed. Professors had to adapt, or there simply would have been no classes, no teaching, no learning. As we look towards a future no longer limited by the pandemic, those changes are no longer necessary. But that does not mean they should be discarded. At the same time, It also does not mean every Covid-era innovation is better than traditional teaching methods.

In the end, every professor must decide what to keep and what to throw away. Just remember, change can be a good thing! But educators should strive to find the right balance between the traditional ways of teaching and the new post-pandemic innovative methods.

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