Guest lecturers and online archives: Augustana history professor on remote learning in Fall 2020

Hear from professor Mélanie Methot on how she’s adapted her history courses to be successful online.

Tia Lalani - 21 July 2020

When Augustana history professor Mélanie Methot learned that the Fall 2020 semester would be delivered online, she saw it as an opportunity rather than a hindrance.

Professor Methot has always enjoyed bringing guest speakers and subject-matter experts to her classrooms to engage in discussion with her students. Instead of preventing her from bringing guests into the classroom, teaching online will make it a bit easier.

“There’s lots of discussion which can still happen even though the course is online, and now, I’m not limited to the people who live in Camrose or in Edmonton.”

Professor Methot is excited to bring two experts on marriage law to her course on marriage and divorce in the British Empire. It’s a subject matter that’s close to her heart as well, as much of her research is done on bigamy.

Along with guest lectures, professor Methot is excited for her students to get a chance to work with archival documents, and act as historians themselves. Along with her course on marriage and divorce (AUHIS 360), professor Methot will also teach a course on pre-confederation history (AUHIS 261), as well as a senior capstone course (AUSOSC 400).

Hear more about Methot’s plans for Fall 2020, and check out her video below. 

How are you planning to adapt your courses for remote delivery?

I am very excited about the marriage and divorce in the British Empire course because students will have the opportunity to conduct research with archival documents.  They will “be” historians analyzing the documents. They will present their interpretation of the data to their peers and perhaps to the public.  We will have guest lecturers from Australia and the UK who will share their expertise on the different topics and their experience with research.

I am also thinking about getting guest speakers in our pre-confederation history course—perhaps even the authors we will read! Therefore, we will be able to ask questions directly to them about their articles. Scholars are often really happy to discuss their work.

The capstone course is “student-led” in the sense that the content of the course will depend on the interests of students. They have a lot of input as to what we will study.

What are your lessons learned from the pivot in the Winter term, and how will the Fall be different for you given the longer lead time for planning?

My students in the Winter term opted for synchronous meeting times, so those who could not attend because of internet access or different time zones could watch the recorded meetings and answers questions on the forum. Looking at my own children and the trouble they have to get motivated in courses where they do not meet with their peers, I hope to reproduce the synchronous teaching experience and offer students a chance to meet “face to face” via hangout.

I have been able to learn more about the technology and hope it will run more smoothly. 

What are you most looking forward to for the Fall?

To see the students and hear what they have to say. I think they will find the assignments interesting and engaging.

Any other messages of encouragement for new and returning students?

Together we will make sure that you are learning, developing your skills and making new friends while having fun!