After Seminole State College shifted to online methods of instruction to ensure student and employee safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Emily Carpenter committed to helping her students make the transition.
She spends mornings working from her home in Shawnee answering emails, making phone calls and using Zoom video conferencing software to meet with classes and students individually.
“I keep telling my students that they need to do what they need to do to be successful. When they have issues or concerns, I try to put myself in their place. I encourage them to make a workspace and to establish a routine,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter’s routine involves getting her two children, Cayden, 12, and Quinn, 10, started on chores or schoolwork, and then assisting her SSC students any way she can. Her husband, Colby, is the part-owner of the Tecumseh Veterinary Clinic, where he specializes in tending to large animals.
She still meets with her face-to-face classes through Zoom during designated class times, records the sessions and then posts them to the online portal for the class for any student who was unable to view the session live.
In an effort to help students with children at home or students with changes in their work schedule due to the pandemic, Carpenter gives her students a larger window of time to submit assignments and take tests.
“Many of my students were nervous about these changes. And I love seeing those students surprise themselves with their own tenacity and ability to learn and overcome these challenges,” Carpenter said.
To bolster student engagement, Carpenter has been quick to share her own quarantine experiences with her students. She sends photos of family activities and asks her students to submit the same.
“I asked them to tell me about a blessing they’ve discovered during this time, to tell me about a challenge they’re facing. It’s important to stress that we’re all in this together,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter has also been quick to assist other instructors at the College, many of whom are teaching online for the first time in their careers. She hopes that instructors can work together during the quarantine to further refine the College’s online course offerings.
“I think we’ll be able to further define online learning at SSC, to improve the experience for students who want to learn remotely in the future,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter received both her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her master’s degree in Teaching, Learning and Leadership with an option in Special Education from Oklahoma State University. She is a National Board-certified teacher with 13 years of K-12 teaching experience. She has worked at SSC full-time for four years and served the College as an adjunct for one year prior to that. Through her many years in education, she has seen the benefits to students when they overcome unexpected obstacles.
“For our students, I think they’ll discover this is a personal development. When they persevere through this, there is only going to be personal growth and maturity,” Carpenter said.