Professor spotlight: Finance professor Jamie Parson shares her experiences teaching online during COVID-19

While the transition to remote learning and teaching amidst the spread of COVID-19 might be enough to cause stress to some, the professors, staff and administrators in the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University faced the challenge with grace and determination. Dr. Jamie Parson, who has taught in the Department of Finance, Banking & Insurance for more than seven years, spoke to us about her experiences.

Dr. Parson is pictured, below, teaching in Peacock Hall before the novel coronavirus outbreak.

A few of Dr. Parson's students have adjusted with some difficulty. She said that the sudden change to their lives has meant they've had to find a new rhythm, and some have the added worry about finding jobs to support their families. With all the challenges facing students, however, Dr. Parson is impressed by their resiliency. "For as many challenges as students are facing, they are still so resilient and often don't complain unless you give them the space."

Even though Dr. Parson misses the classroom connection, she doesn't complain, either. She has learned how to make extra time to communicate with her students — building an extra 30 minutes into each class meeting, creating the space to greet, check in on, and support each individual.

Moreover, given that the traditional exam model is programmed into habit, changing the assessment process for her courses has been a challenge, too. Dr. Parson said she's worked hard "to shake all of that up in a short time and do it well." She said many of her students actually tell her they are doing more school work now than when they were in "live classrooms." To avoid burnout, Dr. Parson recommends that they take 20 to 30-minute breaks throughout the day before beginning a new task. She advises that keeping a detailed calendar also helps students stay organized and on task.

Dr. Parson said that good has come along with the challenges. She said she has been able to enjoy time with her family she otherwise would have missed out on, including teaching her 4-year-old son to ride a bike while social distancing. Dr. Parson credits the local school systems with helping inspire her, too. "It's served as an encouragement to me as a professor to think intentionally and creatively about engaging students during this time."

Dr. Parson, who considers being healthy and employed a victory to be celebrated during COVID-19, is one six faculty champions in the Walker College working to support their colleagues and settle into online instruction during the global pandemic.

Related: App State faculty champions help colleagues transition to virtual platforms, settle into online instruction

April 28, 2020
Kim Bock

Jamie Parson, second from left, with her family
Published: Apr 28, 2020 3:33pm