Hi everyone! My name is Brooke Hayman, and I am currently a second-year student in the M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders program. I am originally from Wilmington, Delaware, and I received my B.S. in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences with a minor in Deaf Studies from Boston University. I chose TC because of its continued commitment to its original mission to prepare students to help underserved and underrepresented populations.

In addition, the welcoming and inclusive community that TC strives to maintain is exactly what I was looking for in the graduate institution that I chose to attend. I've loved living in NYC for the past year, and I have done my best to take advantage of all that is has to offer (i.e. Broadway shows, art galleries, restaurants, and more). Around campus, you can find me exploring new libraries/study spots or grabbing food with friends!

The Digital File

This article is part of the TC Digital File, an ongoing series spotlighting the efforts of TC faculty members to adapt and enhance their teaching in a new era of remote learning.

Q: What have your classes been like online? Has the transition been easy to navigate?

Transitioning into online classes has definitely been an adjustment for me specifically. Being a part of a program that really relies on collaboration, like the majority of the programs at TC, caused me to get used to seeing my peers in person everyday. I will never take that for granted again! Online classes have been fairly easy to navigate from a technical standpoint, and at this point, using Zoom has become second-nature for my peers and me. One additional benefit of online classes that I never anticipated, is that they force me to be even more intentional and confident when communicating my responses and ideas. Previously, I could rely on nonverbal communication with my professors and peers in the classroom, but now that it is harder to be seen with so many people logged into Zoom, when you do speak it’s as if there is a spotlight on each person. This has allowed me to articulate my thoughts more clearly and practice using the jargon that I am reading in articles and in textbooks.

[Read a story about how TC moved at warp speed to take its courses online. Now the College is redefining virtual instruction.]

Q:  Explain the ways in which you are staying connected with your professors and your classmates:

As I mentioned, at Teachers College, collaboration is really emphasized, so I have made it a point to stay connected with my peers and professors as much as possible. My peers and I use Zoom to work together on projects, but also to support one another and unwind after a busy week. During the pandemic, professors have been just as responsive to email as before, if not more, and really encourage us to meet with them on Zoom whenever we need.

Q: Have you had any interesting experiences while making the transition?

My most interesting experiences are always forgetting that I’m muted whenever my professors call on me to answer a question, or worse, when I think I’m on mute and my classmates rapidly text me to let me know that I’m not. Oops!

Q: Are there any notable benefits or unexpected outcomes?

A big benefit for me, a student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program, is that during speech therapy sessions, I have gotten an inside scoop on my clients’ routine at home. By being able to directly connect with my clients’ parents/caretakers, I am able to communicate with them what I am targeting in therapy in a way that I haven’t been able to before. As a result of being more present during their childrens' sessions, my clients’ parents have been able to model the language that I use at home, and therefore create a sense of continuity. I am sure this benefit is applicable for many TC programs that require clinical hours or student teaching! 

Q: What should prospective students know about how to be successful in online learning, both generally and in the TC context specifically? 

Ask as many questions as possible to make sure you understand! Even though classes are online, this is still your education. Take matters into your own hands and make the most of it.