REAL Certificate Mentor Helps Prepare Students for Online Courses

By Caitlin Burns | March 24, 2020

Annalise Christy with a REAL Certificate student.

Annalise Christy ’20 thought her Education Studies Capstone was going to be about the first time that Raising Expectations for Academic Learning (REAL) Certificate students participated in Preview. As the REAL Mentor, Christy had attended the “Leadership Lessons Learned” Preview class with the REAL Certificate students to explore their integration into the program and participation in the travel component.

However, with the cancelation of Preview followed by last week’s quick transition to online learning due to COVID-19, Christy had to adapt quickly. She found herself pulling her research, reorganizing her project, and coordinating training for the nine REAL Certificate students to learn the resources available for online courses.

“Many of them had never worked on Google docs with other people before,” said Christy. “We’re trying to do social time on Zoom, and I think that’s going to be the hardest part. It’s going to be overcoming awkward barriers.”

From practicing Zoom video conferences to demonstrating collaboration on Google docs, Christy took the time to ensure students could transition to online learning with as little disruption as possible. This included teaching one of the REAL Certificate students how to take photos on a phone instead of with film, and how to upload them for a photography class.

“This week has been challenging for the entire community, and with one REAL staff member out sick, our program needed her,” said School of Education Chair and REAL Certificate Adviser Dr. Kim Dean. “[Christy] rose above and beyond the call of duty in supporting peers in the REAL program as they coped with the loss of their Preview opportunity and the complex demands presented by our response to the corona pandemic.”

A member of the University’s swim team, Christy hopes to use her education at Arcadia after graduation to engage special education students through aquatics programs.

“Everyone should have the opportunity to learn to swim safely,” said Christy.