Updated: Jan 18
"The interactive content, the interesting discussions, and the amazing opportunities available made the experience unforgettable for my students."
When the pandemic cancelled her yearly trip to Chicago, Dr. Vicki Stanavitch of Keystone College still found a way to provide her students with the opportunity to experience the city.
Chicago Center: What parts of the in-person LearnChicago! experience were you most eager to replicate?
Vicki Stanavitch: I really wanted the students to experience the different cultures and neighborhoods we visited in Chicago when we come for in-person programming. Many of our students are from rural, minimally diverse communities. Their only experience with certain cultures was our visits to Chicago. Cultural competency is important in the public health field, and exposure to new cultures leads to respect and understanding. This goal was primary for the remote experience.
CC: What did you miss most about coming to Chicago?
VS: We really missed the in-person neighborhood visits! And the food…and the communal living…and the diversity of experiences…and especially the people. After coming for so many years, I have developed relationships with Lane and Scott. I missed getting to see them and spend time with them, along with the programming.
CC: How did your students benefit from the interactions they had with our resources?
VS: All students thoroughly enjoyed the presentations and every student discussed what they learned from the experience. Most of the time, students discussed how they had never met or talked with a person who is not “like themselves,” so I think this exposure to diversity was the best learning outcome for the experience. All students recommended the experience again for next year, but students also discussed how they would have preferred to come in person.
CC: Why was it important to you to still provide students with a virtual LearnChicago experience?
VS: The Introduction to Public Health course is designed to compare/contrast our more rural public health system with a large urban center. This goal was missing last year, since we couldn’t come to Chicago, and we didn’t do the virtual programming. My hope was that by providing the virtual experience, the students could make these important comparisons and see what types of systems and opportunities are available in a larger urban setting. In addition, the challenges associated with the larger urban setting are different than those found in rural areas. Examining all of these factors provides the complete overview of the public health system.
CC: What would you say to professors considering a virtual LC! experience?
VS: This virtual experience was amazing. The students learned so much AND our course goals were achieved. The interactive content, the interesting discussions, and the amazing opportunities available made the experience unforgettable for my students.