Prof. Darcy Lindberg applauded for commitment to student learning

Assistant professor one of 10 recipients of 2020 Remote Teaching Award

Sarah Kent - 15 March 2021

Amidst the pandemic, Assistant Professor Darcy Lindberg of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law has gone above and beyond for students in his virtual classroom and those efforts have earned him a 2020 COVID-19 Remote Teaching Award.

“I am really grateful for the acknowledgement. I gain knowledge from the students and their experiences in classes, so I am happy with the reflection that my approach might be effective,” said Lindberg. “In a selfish way, it is a morale boost in a time when it is needed.”

Lindberg is one of 10 instructors being recognized for outstanding teaching during remote learning at the U of A.

As classes moved online, Lindberg knew he needed to adapt to students’ needs.

“One thing I learned really early on was that my own sense of pride (and ego) on what I wanted accomplished in classes needed to be set aside. It was more important to meet the moment with compassion.”

Knowing that students were dealing with responsibilities outside the classroom, Lindberg pre-recorded his lectures so that students could learn at their own pace and on their own schedules. When the class met virtually once a week, he facilitated discussion about what they learned.

Student Wellness

“I really have been grounded in my focus on the basic wellness of students and myself as classes progressed,” said Lindberg.

For his jurisprudence course, every class started with a check-in.

“He genuinely wanted to know how we were coping with online learning, and he adapted his expectations accordingly,” said Amy Durand, a 2L student in Lindberg’s course who nominated him for the award.

“These check-ins created a supportive community amongst our peers and we were able to offer each other personal and academic support more easily because we had a sense of what each other needed.”

Lindberg was there for students every step of the way, said Durand. At the end of the term, Durand found herself juggling childcare responsibilities on top of school work and was worried she couldn’t complete the final project.

“He gave me the extra time I needed to meet all my responsibilities amidst the unexpected change in my childcare situation,” said Durand. “Those few extra days allowed me to create the project I originally intended to, and it turned out better than either of us expected. It may be the beginning of a podcast series — which would never have gotten off the ground without Dr. Lindberg's support and compassion.”

For Lindberg, being responsive to the students in his classroom and being inspired by their creativity and resiliency is at the heart of his teaching style, which centres on the Cree principle of miyo-wîcêhtowin.

“(Miyo-wîcêhtowin) means ‘good relations’ and causes us to think how we are assisting each other. A strong part of this principle is that we are all learners in the circle we are engaged in,” said Lindberg.

“So, while not forgoing my obligations as a professor, it is an important reflection for me to know that each class is going to teach me something, that we are all aiding each other’s learning.”