A relatively new, innovative resource called the CoLab, which stands for open learning and teaching collaborative, arrived at Plymouth State University, (PSU), fortunately before the pandemic hit. The CoLab created and offered a course during July 2020 to introduce faculty to the ACE Framework- a set of practices to assist instructors in thinking about how to teach during times of crisis, like during a pandemic.
As a participant in the ACE Framework professional development course, I write reflections on my new learning around pivoting pedagogy due to COVID-19. I also try to come up with a visual that encapsulates the ideas. Creating an accompanying visual- painting an image that corresponds to the ideas, help cement key messages in my head. On Monday, July 20th, the faculty began a focus on the “C” in ACE, which stands for connection. The three pillars of ACE are: Adaptation, Connection, and Equity.
On Sunday night, before the ACE Framework Zoom session on Tuesday morning, I saw the comet- Neowise for the first time- a memorable and exhilarating experience. In thinking about everyone on earth being able to see the comet, I realized this rare astronomical phenomenon has arrived at a good time. The comet offers a positive diversion from all the stress and worry about what is happening in the US and the world around COVID.
The PSU CoLAB with its ACE Framework, like the comet, provides a bright light in these dark times. A metaphorical image emerged for me of the PSU faculty riding the illuminated tail of the comet through the purple, dark haze containing the COVID virus that envelops the planet. The red blobs symbolize the virus. The comet tail symbolizes the supportive community the PSU faculty are building as we consider how to open our University and resume teaching during the pandemic. There’s no place I’d rather be, than sitting behind the CoLAB leaders- on that comet tail, illuminated by the sun. We all know that UV light kills the virus.