WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — As colleges and universities prepare to welcome back students for a new semester, professors will be carrying along some of the lessons learned over the past year about virtual learning.

Leaders say zoom fatigue became a very real thing for students, so faculty came up with more engaging ways to get students involved in lecture courses and interact with each other outside of the virtual platform.

“In many ways in our in-person classes, just being together makes us feel connected even if we’re just having a discussion and listening to a lecture,” says Betsy Barre, the executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching. “But, sitting on zoom listening to a lecture and having a discussion is more isolating. So, we encourage our instructors to think about intentional activities that would help their students build community with one another maybe outside of zoom.”

Leaders say technology also played a huge role in allowing them to adapt quickly to students’ needs.

Several faculty members learned how to give quizzes and tests online, and give feedback on homework and papers digitally.

“As a relatively new professor, some of my content I was creating for the first time,” says Lucy D’Agostino McGowan, associate professor of statistics. “But there are also classes that other folks have been teaching for a really long time, that maybe haven’t gotten a re-assessment in a while. This gave everybody an opportunity to basically reassess their content, figure out what they actually want to be teaching.”

Many teachers have also moved away from longer, online lectures.

Many of them started recording shorter video that they share with students, so they can pause or rewind, and study from them.