Human Development and Family Sciences
The Catalyst
February/March 2021
Dear HDFS community,

Welcome back to Spring Semester! This month we feature some of the virtual learning activities that have been taking place in HDFS. Every faculty member has converted their class to a remote format, many with innovative, successful ideas! I wish you continued success!

Bahira Sherif Trask, HDFS dept chair
Faculty and Student Spotlights
HDFS professor Barbara Settles has been an invaluable member of the HDFS department for over fifty years. She is a great representation of the ability to adapt well to changing environments. Please click the link below to read her unique perspectives on transitioning to a virtual teaching and learning environment during this unprecedented time.

HDFS associate professor Lynn Worden has worked hard to effectively adapt her courses to a virtual environment. While she has always enjoyed learning how to use different types of technology to support instruction and improve learning outcomes, she had never taught a course fully online. Her goal with virtual (mainly synchronous) instruction has been to make her classes as much like her face-to-face ones as possible with many types of learning experiences.

Activities such as small group discussions and class debates translate easily to a virtual format using breakout rooms. Other experiences she uses needed to be tweaked. For example, she used the polling feature in Zoom for students to "take a stand" on a scale from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree" on a topic rather than having them physically move and stand under a sign to show their position. She also started using Jamboards for students to share ideas and collaborate instead of walking around the classroom and writing on chalk- or whiteboards. To help students form connections with their peers, this spring she plans to use Yellowdig, an online discussion platform. "Unfortunately, there is no way to sing (yes, I really do make my students sing) synchronously, so my students will be doing an asynchronous module on music in infant/toddler education. Hopefully sometime soon, we will all be singing together again," says Lynn.
Joy Rowe is a training coordinator with the DIEEC and also is one of our adjunct faculty members, teaching an advanced inclusive curriculum course in our ECE program this spring. Joy has excelled in adapting to the current virtual environment, creating collaborative learning modules in Canvas for her students. Each module has a video or readings, or both as content learning, and a follow up of discussions, quizzes and other forms of documentation for learning. All modules focused on content learning and then application of activities to do (or that could be done) with children, and documentation for UD student focused reflection. The application project was left open enough to allow for different ages/engagement options (virtual or live).

Students were given prompts for writing about their own resilience, for example the Mickey ScottBey Jones poem about bravery and what it meant to them. She was able to learn a great deal about the students from their journal entries which gave her opportunities for follow up and support through personal emails or general discussion topics/sharing resources in class. There was a different prompt in most of the modules and this became one of Joy's favorite pieces to evaluate. In Joy's own words, "teaching these students is always such a gift and I am grateful for the opportunity."
Layne Humphrey is a vital member of our adjunct faculty. She creatively and effectively adapted her course into a productive and collaborative educational space for her students. You can learn about these strategies and techniques by reading her article linked below.

HDFS doctoral student Annette Pic has many roles in the department, including serving as the CEHD Graduate Student Representative for the GCC (Graduate College Council) and as Co-chair of the HDFS Graduate Student Lunchtime Learning Seminars. She is also currently teaching a child development undergraduate course which she has reconstructed into a robust virtual learning environment for the students. She organized the course into modules to provide a streamlined approach where students can go to one page to access all course materials and assignments in chronological order. She uses interactive collaborative presentations and shared documents where students can take an active role, providing students the opportunity to share their knowledge and understanding of the material. Zoom chats, breakout rooms and discussion board chats all help to foster a deeper understanding of the curriculum. She is accessible to her students ten minutes prior and after class for specific questions and concerns as well as providing weekly zoom drop in office hours.

In addition to teaching and her other service work, Annette is working on two research studies with HDFS associate professor Jen Gallo-Fox. She will be presenting her research under the guidance of her advisor, HDFS professor Myae Han, at two ECE research conferences, AERA and TASP. She is working on a brief for the State of Delaware with fellow HDFS graduate students under the direction of HDFS professor Rena Hallam. Annette's research interests include child-initiated learning in nature-based preschools, peer conflict resolution in the context of free play and access to early childhood education.
HDFS doctoral candidate Kenny Daughtry successfully adapted his Racial Identity, Bias and the Self course to a virtual learning environment offered during winter session. Given the sensitive nature of the discussions, everyone used their cameras in order to create a safe environment for open discussion. There were weekly guest speakers that spoke about different modes of activism, and students were allowed to bring in family and friends as guests to one of the open discussions. According to Kenny, "This was one of the most successful renditions of the class as it had the most diversity, even including a student that did not think as liberally as the rest of the class. In this setting, all students took the space to voice their stance and we talked through it, no matter how controversial or potentially offensive it could be."

The course also used lectures to help students understand developmental and sociological theories that impact how we think and how we live. One student, Jenny Wendell stated, "being called a racist is a call to action, not just a criticism." This was a profound statement that most of the students embraced to examine their self-concept versus their actions and then make the proper adjustments. Students expressed walking away from this class empowered to advocate more and with a deeper connection to their racial identity. 
DIEEC at Work
To promote health and wellness in the new zoom environment, DIEEC professional development coordinators Jessica DeWese and Melissa Schulte, have created a presentation on "Mindful Ways to Manage Zoom to Find Balance and Connection." The brief presentation includes helpful tips to prevent you from depleting your energy and staying engaged during hours of screen time.
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