Experiential Learning Courses Forced to Make Adjustments During the Pandemic

Statue

Photo by Stephen Longenecker

As students are not able to attend field trips due to the pandemic safety guidelines, some experiential courses are left with a challenge to keep students engaged. Professor of History and Political Science Stephen Longenecker has his students view pictures of monuments such as the J. E. B. Stuart Monument in Richmond, Virginia.

Olivia Carson, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – As the pandemic continues to make changes in our education, students and staff in the humanities and social sciences division are adjusting and are starting to prepare for the upcoming year.

Professors have confessed that this fall semester has been exceptionally challenging at times, but Assistant Professor of World Languages and Cultures Alma Ramirez-Trujillo and Professor of History and Political Science Stephen Longenecker feel that they adapted well. 

Longenecker is finishing up the 2020 fall semester of teaching the experiential course titled Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley.

In previous years, this course would have included several field trips to local battlefields. For safety reasons this year, those field trips were not an option, and Longenecker had to make some adjustments to his course plan in order for his students to gain the same experience and material.

Longenecker believes that his planned field trips are truly irreplaceable, but he has found a way to mimic the experience as much as possible by having his students view photos and respond in discussion or essay format. 

Ramirez-Trujillo is taking notes now and preparing for the experiential course, Hispanic Migration in Film and Literature, that she is teaching during May 2021. Ramirez has already come up with several ways in which she can keep her students engaged and informed while staying socially distanced.