Newswise — October 5, 2020 – COVID-19 has changed our way of life. And academia has been hit hard. Several faculty members from universities across the United States will present what they have learned and strategies to adapt in a symposium called “COVID-19 Impacts on Higher Education: Concerns and Strategies to Adapt.”

This symposium is part of the Translating Visionary Science to Practice ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting being held virtually, Nov. 9-13, 2020. The meeting is hosted by the American Society of AgronomyCrop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America. Media are invited; preregistration is required.

The presentations are:

  1. Virtualizing Soil Science Field Trips in Response to COVID-19, presented by Darrell Schulze, Purdue University. He will describe how they managed soil science field trips for three courses. Four were within 2 miles from campus, and two were 100 miles from campus. They are using apps and collecting content including short videos, 360 degree photographs, extremely high resolution gigapan photographs of soil profiles and landscapes, aerial drone images, and physical samples.
  2. When Low and High Tech Solutions Converge: Adapting to Teaching Soils during the COVID-19 Pandemic, presented by Michael Mashtare, Purdue University. Michael will present results from student surveys performed seeking feedback on both online-only and hybrid classes, as well as student’s suggestions on how to best navigate in this new normal.
  3. Podcasts as Teaching Tools during COVID-19: Student Experience and Instructor Lessons Learned, presented by Nicolas Jelinski, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Jelinski and colleague Leanna Leverich developed a Podcast for their basic soil science class. These podcasts had guests from around the country and covered a wide range of topics. They will present student responses to the podcasts, lessons learned, and best practices for using podcasts as a tool for teaching in alternative formats.
  4. Virtual Soil Science Laboratory Sessions during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Delivery and Student Perceptions, presented by Sergio Manacpo Abit, Oklahoma State University. For sciences, laboratory experiences are hands-on components to teach highly-technical skills. This talk will describe laboratory sessions that were redesigned into exercises that were shown to students. Instructors made video clips to show students the step-by-step activity, show the results that were generated, and explain the details of the reasons behind the data. A larger virtual lab video was then prepared. Semester-end survey revealed that 97% of students agreed or strongly agreed that virtual labs successfully demonstrated key processes and 99% agreed or strongly agreed that the understanding of important concepts would have been difficult without the virtual labs. While it has its limitations, virtual lab sessions were successful substitutes to hands-on lab activities.
  5. Digital Adaptations for Distance Laboratory-Based Learning in Soil Science, presented by Rebecca Graham, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. To continue hands-on instruction and create accessible content for students, they developed online soil science laboratory instruction by filming essential laboratory procedures. They created digital companion activities for soil science learning outside of the campus. They will review our approach to developing online laboratory instructional materials, synthesize feedback from students, reflect on our experiences as instructors, and describe challenges and opportunities for future online soil science laboratory instruction.
  6. Preparing to go Online: Redesigning a Soils Course to Prepare for Hybrid and/or Remote Learning, presented by Kristopher Osterloh, South Dakota State University. The combination of sudden remote teaching and a warm spring created a 'perfect storm' of missing agriculture students. Join Dr. Osterloh on his journey of creating a class that had to be ready for in person, hybrid, socially distanced, and fully remote teaching at a moments’ notice.

Presentations may be watched asynchronously, and there will be a scheduled Q&A time to speak with presenters during the meeting. Presentations will be available for online viewing for 90 days after the meeting for all registrants. For more information about the Translating Visionary Science to Practice meetingvisit

Media are invited to attend the conference. Pre-registration by Nov. 2, 2020 is required. Visit for registration information.

Meeting Link: 2020 ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting