Inclusion in a Virtual Environment
May 11, 2020
You've heard it a million times — we are in unprecedented times. Our daily lives have drastically changed. Things that used to be simple, like stopping into someone's office to ask a quick question, are not as simple anymore.
On one side, social media and the online environment used to take away from face-to-face interactions. Now, that's our only option for safe "face-to-face" interactions. At the university level, we have students from all over the globe. Engaging with our students and helping them engage with each other outside of the classroom is something we are still testing and trying to find good solutions for.
Currently my office — the Center for Inclusive Education and Scholarship — hosts weekly chats for our students via Zoom. We tried to pick a time that would work for most time zones. We had a session where we discussed motivation and another where we played BINGO and talked about what we're watching on Netflix. It's a space where students can connect with each other, vent about what’s going on, but also stress a little bit less even if for a few moments.
The engagement of our students is a large part of the mission, vision, and values of the Center. While we host events, we also rely on the activities of other departments around campus as a way to connect our students to valuable resources.
It's a space where students can connect with each other, vent about what’s going on, but also stress a little bit less even if for a few moments.
Student organizations are hosting a variety of remote and virtual events for their members, including maintaining their general body meetings and hosting fun activities like movie nights. Many other centers and offices around campus are continuing, where possible, to host already planned workshops and thinking of other events to host and engage with our students.
We can't wait to connect with the new class starting this summer with our Dragon Scholars program, which will be held online. We are also coming up with ways to connect with our other new students throughout the summer. We are always available during regular business hours through our email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or if students are familiar with Microsoft Teams, they can chat with us there.
Tasha Gardner, EdD is the Director for the Center for Inclusive Education and Scholarship at Drexel. In her free time, she loves crafting (anything creative) and baking. Tasha has been at Drexel since starting as a first-year student in 1998. Even though she took a 3-year break before starting full-time, she was still connected to the university.