Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Event Name/Location

National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) 50th Annual Conference / Orlando, FL

Presentation Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Experiential education is about engaging students in active learning. However, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we needed to meet emerging social-distancing needs through learning activities online in a hurry. As we strived to promote an abrupt sense of community and keep students engaged in meaningful learning activities online in the midst of an unprecedented worldwide pandemic, we became aware of our assumptions that students “just knew” how to behave appropriately in Zoom meetings. After encountering some unexpected behaviors, which were detrimental to accomplishing learning objectives, we realized that ground rules for participation in Zoom were not as obvious as we had assumed, and thus needed to be set clearly. So we designed, developed and implemented a pilot course to set clear expectations for Zoom participation, which we deployed in January 2021. The “Zoom Etiquette and Expectations: Preparing for Success" course featured an introduction, content presentation, an interactive simulation, and an assessment. At the end students submitted a badge as proof of completion to their professors. College faculty were surveyed and results and conclusions drawn are discussed in this presentation.

In this session we share how we faced change, what worked, what didn’t, and how to implement proven practices, such as this course, as new baselines for the “new normal” - however that will look. This presentation is relevant to this year's NSEE (National Society for Experiential Education) conference theme of “Experiential Education in an Ever-Changing World” because it presents an institutional effort created specifically to address specific and urgent challenges brought about by the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic (what was that about an ever-changing world?).


Conference Theme: Celebrating 50 Years: Experiential Education in an Ever-Changing World

Additional Comments

Session outcomes

After the session, audience members should be able to articulate:

  1. the importance of experiential education in online contexts, especially during periods perceived by students as unwanted or "forced" online learning
  2. the importance of creating “on-the-fly” solutions to address abrupt educational challenges in times of unprecedented change, while developing an awareness of student’s individual challenges when learning online in an unplanned manner
  3. how to harness the power of interdepartmental collaboration in addressing faculty development needs with limited resources and hurried timelines
  4. how to achieve quality, equity, and student engagement through the design, implementation, and assessment of high-impact practices for the online classroom
  5. how to develop plans to implement institutional-wide practices by piloting solutions in a smaller-scale first, and exchange ideas to overcome roadblocks