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Center for Teaching Excellence

  • Global Health

Engaging and Connecting with Students in a Virtual Environment

Tina Marie Devlin is an adjunct faculty member in the Arnold School of Public Health.  She has been teaching HPEB 470 (Principles of Global Health) at USC for four semesters. She is also a Health Resource Analyst for Blue Cross Blue Shield. Tina implemented many strategies during the pandemic to engage students in her Fall 2020 course. She used the Center for Teaching Excellence’s syllabus template and the Blackboard course design template for her course.  Her learning modules included Blackboard Collaborate Ultra lectures, short videos, journal articles, discussion board assignments, a midterm exam and a virtual group project. 

Tina also included a “Word News Updates (WNU)” assignment. For this assignment, students were to bring awareness to global issues happening in real time, to keep them abreast of public health topics, and to connect students to news stories that reinforce the concepts and information discussed in class. Students were instructed to subscribe to a global health newsletter or media outlet to stay connected to global health issues.  Every Sunday by 5pm, Tina posted the names of 10 people at random to upload their WNU to Blackboard. 

Tina made sure that her Blackboard Collaborate sessions were interactive and engaging.  She started each class session with facts from around the world – trivia-type facts. During each class session, Tina reviewed content from the prior class using a game based tool called Kahoot!.  Students were very competitive and loved the review sessions.  In addition, Tina lectured in seven minute increments during the live class.  After seven minutes, she solicited open dialogue on the information that she covered. 

Tina received very positive feedback from her students.  Below is some of the feedback that she received:

"I enjoyed how much Ms. Devlin helped each student whenever we needed it no matter if it was about the course or not. I also enjoyed that Ms. Devlin discussed as much as she could within this semester and challenged us."

"I enjoyed learning about all of the materials. They were taught in a way that made them exciting to talk about. The professor also promoted discussion about each topic, which made the course that much more impactful. I felt as though we were all learning through each other along with learning from the professor."

 "I have never had a professor outwardly care about her students so much. She has a passion that makes her lectures intriguing. Her immense knowledge and facts about topics around the world were extremely interesting and eye-opening. She made herself very approachable which made people comfortable asking questions and getting more out of the lectures."

 "I liked that the instructor used a variety of teaching methods that helped drive concepts into the mind better."

"Ms. Devlin was informative and her personality shone so brightly which helped with an online class at 8:05AM! Her material was so diverse and she provided awesome daily "national days."

"Ms. Devlin was the best professor I’ve ever had, she addressed each student by their names. She made a point to get to know every student and make a learning environment that was understanding and respectful."

Tina enjoys teaching and has accepted the challenge of teaching the same course in an asynchronous format for the spring 2021 term. She created an interactive e-book, “An Introduction to Global Health”, that her students are currently using in the course. 

Tina has received great feedback regarding the book and looks forward to continuing to receive feedback to improve the book.

"I love that everything is clear and concise. The content contains everything we need to know including outside sources to gain more information. As a visual learner, I appreciate the usage of short videos because they help me learn as well. This textbook is awesome so far. Congratulations!"

"I liked how the chapter was very straight forward and easy flowing. It helped individuals who might not have known this knowledge prior easily make connections and comprehend what these definitions and items mean. What made it easy was the short, precise, having bolded words so readers can indicate what they really need to understand in that sentence for that section. I think the pre and post test are nice to have, because they are not too many questions and they help you think about what you just read to put into test questions. Overall, I really enjoyed chapter one and the concepts!"

"I love the way this textbook functions as well as the info inside. My first experiences using this online textbook proved to have incredible ease, and the chapter was thorough yet concise which kept me engaged throughout the entire material!"

Tina shares her experiences with new adjunct faculty during Adjunct Faculty Orientation. She continues to improve her teaching strategies each semester and continuously states that services from the CTE have helped her to be successful in educating her students. Tina expressed,

“Working with CTE, especially Dr. Aisha Haynes, throughout my teaching career at USC has been very impactful. They provide useful and relevant resources that I implement within the classroom every semester. I am thankful that we have them as a resource at USC because they have helped me grow and improve as an Instructor.”


About the Instructional Designer

Aisha Haynes is the Assistant Director at the USC Center for Teaching Excellence. She oversees the CTE’s Instructional Design team. Haynes is a certified Quality Matters Peer and Master Reviewer and has earned Online Teaching certifications from the Online Learning Consortium. She teaches for Palmetto College. She is also Graduate Associate Faculty in the College of Education. Her research interests include: instructional design in online learning environments, online course accessibility, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and collaboration and engagement in online learning environments.  Haynes is the current president of the Association for Distance Education and Independent Learning (ADEIL) and is active on statewide committees related to instructional design and accessibility.

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