Takeaways from the Back to School Better Virtual Conference

Back to School Better Virtual Conference
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Author: Audrey Wick, a full-time English professor at Blinn College in central Texas.


We may be socially distant, but we’re not socially isolated. The 2020 Back to School Better virtual conference proved this, with hundreds of instructors, administrators, Cengage authors and other thought leaders gathering to prepare for the fall semester.

If you missed it, have no fear! Thanks to recordings and free online access, you can now view parts of the conference anytime. Read on for top takeaways to implement in your own course.

A Renewed Focus on Wellness

The conference featured keynote addresses by experts who shared strategies to prepare educators for the upcoming COVID-19-impacted semester.

Jonathan Brennan, co-author of On Course: Strategies for Creating Success in College, Career, and Life, kicked off day one with his session “Engaging and Empowering Learners through Zoom.”

His practical suggestions for minimizing digital fatigue can be implemented easily—and immediately. In particular, the 20-20-20 method of addressing eye strain is something we should all remember as we’ll likely spend even more time in front of computers this fall.

Watch the Session Now: Engaging and Empowering Learners Through Zoom

Faculty as “First Responders” in the Classroom

Cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Janet Zadina shared a resource-rich presentation on mental health that focused on stress-related coping practices, including the 4-7-8 breath method to stop anxiety in its tracks.

Access some of Dr. Zadina’s free resources, or read “Brain Bites” on her blog. Her Coping with COVID-19 page offers resources to help faculty now; she thinks of educators as “first responders” to students in the classroom, so familiarity with available tools to help students cope ensures stronger academic performance.

More Timely Topics to Explore

Interested in more peer-tested learnings on relevant topics? Check out these additional sessions:

And there’s more! Watch all of the available sessions from the Back to School Better series whenever and wherever it’s convenient for you.

If you’re seeking more ways to stay connected to fellow educators and Cengage product users, start by visiting All Access instructor site. We are better together—and with support from Cengage, we’ll all go back to school better, too!