Return to class after teaching 1,000 miles away


BROOKINGS, SD (KELO) – Like many educators, Frank Robertson was teaching his online cross-platform photojournalism and storytelling classes at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he wasn’t in Brookings, or even in the state of South Dakota. It was all the way in Ohio. Robertson and his family own a home in Ohio.

However, after an opportunity presented itself at SDSU for him to teach, he decided to move to Brookings, while his wife and grandfather remained in Ohio.

“So on weekends and holidays I go back to Ohio sometimes, but at the moment we have two houses. I have an apartment here in Brookings and I live my residence in Ohio,” he said. said Robertson.

Distance education last year allowed her to live with her family.

While it worked well for his family, there were also some challenges.

“The challenge was really to make the connection with the students and get them to connect with the material,” he said. “So just make sure you design the course in a way that helps them feel connected. “

Robertson set up office hours for his students on Zoom, where he would be present at the meeting for set times and the students could walk in, just as they could if it was a face-to-face. .

“Students don’t always take advantage of those office hours whether you’re here or in a virtual setting, but some did and it was great to be able to have those times where we could sit and chat and talk about this. that might be happening. and also work with them outside of these hours, ”said Robertson.

While teachers and students alike are excited to be returning to the classroom this year, online learning has also provided opportunities to reap benefits that will help them in their future careers.

“I think it was good practice for us to learn to be more online and more distant because I feel like that’s kind of how the communication industry evolves, so I Thought this was a good practice, I actually really enjoyed my classes, but I missed out on the face-to-face or seeing my classmates, ”said Kira Gifford, student.

“I appreciated this opportunity to work remotely, because of the benefits to my family and the situation, but I can’t wait to be back in class,” said Robertson.

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