The Breakfast Club

By Amy Pelvin

Amy Pelvin describes feeling disconnected from the day to day interactions with students, particularly in full or partial asynchronous courses. She decided to start The Breakfast Club. This runs during asynchronous classes and is an opportunity to connect with students and build relationships.

Transcript – The Breakfast Club (click to open)

Hello everyone and welcome to the Breakfast Club! My name is Amy Pelvin and I am a full-time faculty in the CYC department. So, I started what I like to call “The Breakfast Club” with my students. This particular cohort of students I teach every other week synchronously and asynchronously.  So, one week I get to see them in class for a couple hours and then the next week they’re required to go online and review the content in an asynchronous format. Well the problem was that I was really finding the students feeling disconnected to me and I was feeling disconnected to them. They’re very used to having open access and being able to have conversations with me about how they connect with the material, about their lives and the things that are exciting for them, and we just didn’t have an opportunity to do that anymore.

So, we started the Breakfast Club. What’s the Breakfast Club? Well I’ll tell you! The Breakfast Club runs every asynchronous class that I have. And first and foremost, it gives me an opportunity to see the students outside of class time, something that I really relished doing when I got to see them in the hallways, or in my office, or just passing by them in the cafeteria, that we just don’t get anymore.  Secondly, I’m able to for those students who really look for opportunities to access the material and have someone explain it to them a little bit. Although I say that I’m not going to teach the classes, and I don’t, I do review the tasks, the content, the videos and anything else that I’ve posted on eCentennial for them asynchronously to review. That way it gives those students who might need a little bit extra attention or just need an explanation. Sometimes they just want to hear my voice explain it to them. That’s different than them reading it.

So, it really has given them an opportunity, for those students who are struggling with any of the content, to be able to come on, ask some clarification questions, and be prepared to engage in that asynchronous material. Lastly, the Breakfast Club is an opportunity for everyone to just show up and hang out outside of the confines of a virtual classroom or a breakout room. The students are really starting to articulate that they miss their friends, they miss being able to see the faculty, they miss the hallways. So, this was just an opportunity for us to all show up. We have breakfast together, I wear my Breakfast Club shirt, and we discuss what we’re having for breakfast. At one point, we were having discussions about needing to work out more, so the next week that we had Breakfast Club we all showed up with an activity and exercise and then we worked out together!

It really is just helping the students to feel connected to the faculty, their peers, the program, and the College overall. So, I found it really helpful, and just continuing to foster relationships with the students, and maybe you’ll try one too! Let me know if you do!