Understanding the Challenges of Teaching Writing Online during the Pandemic at an Urban Community College

Swan Kim, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of English

Donna Kessler-Eng, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of English

Bronx Community College at the City University of New York (CUNY)     


The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented changes to higher education and left particularly damaging effects for the underprivileged population. Colleges suddenly shifted into online modality in March 2020, forcing both students and faculty to quickly adapt to the new learning environment. While much of the recent literature has focused on the challenges from the student perspectives (Black et al 2020; Malik, 2020), there has been little insight as to how Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) faculty are dealing with the challenges. The purpose of this study is to better understand the impact this major shift has had on the challenges faculty faced in this process. To examine how our faculty rapidly adapted to teaching in distance learning modality, we analyzed a faculty survey conducted by the Writing Across the Curriculum program in Fall 2020. Eighty-six faculty members participated in a survey about pedagogical applications and concerns including responses to two open-ended questions. In response to the study, the recommendation is to expand professional development opportunities for faculty regarding online pedagogy that is systematically integrated into pedagogy in general.

Keywords: Hispanic, Latinx, Higher Education, Writing, Composition, pandemic, COVID-19, teaching online, Bronx Community College, CUNY

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