Zoom presentations and an online exam: how one Concordia engineering prof made the move to remote learning
Graduate students in Concordia’s Coatings and Surface Engineering (MECH 691) course were expecting to deliver their final presentations in the classroom this term. Instead, they’ll be doing it on a Zoom call.
Christian Moreau, a professor at the Concordia Institute of Aerospace Design and Innovation, spent last week preparing for the remainder of his class to move online so his students could continue their studies during the COVID-19 closures.
While shifting his remaining three lectures to a virtual format was relatively simple, Moreau needed to find a workaround for students’ major projects — which account for 50 per cent of their final grade — and their final exams.
Master’s and PhD students, who have been preparing short presentations and reports on a topic related to surface engineering, will now give their 10-minute presentations over a Zoom conference call after lectures conclude.
“It’s always better to be on site and face to face, but with the Zoom meeting, I’m confident we’ll be able to get a good learning experience for the students,” Moreau says.
He has also developed a plan for his students’ final exam, which is scheduled for the end of April. He’s sticking with the scheduled date and time, but hosting it online. Students will be sent a design-related question and have two hours to answer it.
“It will be different from the typical exam, but I don’t think the impact will be large,” he adds.
Moreau also notes that his exams have always been open-book.
“I say to students, ‘Focus on learning.’ They don’t have to try to remember equations by heart. I want them to act like engineers and scientists, so they have access to their materials to answer questions. I think the online exam will work well in that context.”
‘We need to be open-minded about making adjustments’
As for lectures, Moreau is posting his notes on Moodle each week — which he had already been doing prior to the move online. He’ll also record his live Zoom lectures so that students unable to attend can listen on their own time.
Office hours will continue online, at their regularly scheduled time, and he’ll be available over email.
“So far, I’m quite confident everything will work well,” Moreau says.
“Classes finish in early April, so we still have three weeks in front of us. During this period, I think it’s important to be flexible and adapt to the situation as needed,” he says. “We need to be open-minded about making adjustments.”
Moreau credits the work of his colleagues, department chairs and others across the university, all the way up to Concordia President Graham Carr.
“Everybody worked hard to achieve this and I’m quite confident that our students will be well-treated in the coming weeks to finish their term.”
Concordia’s campuses and libraries are currently closed, and courses have moved online as of Monday, March 23. Follow along with updates and info on COVID-19.
Check out online resources from Concordia’s Centre for Teaching Learning, developed to help professors move their courses online. And consult the schedule of live information sessions.