How can I address the coronavirus pandemic as a teaching moment for my students?

Like all of us, students will be living through a difficult period in our shared history over the coming term. To the extent possible, we can increase students’ engagement with online courses by explicitly integrating academic learning with the reality of the coronavirus.

The CCCE is curating resources on this page to support this curricular engagement through a civic lens. This includes projects and strategies for remote ACE projects that could support the needs of local partners doing vital work in this moment of urgency.

Beyond this, there are also ways for other courses to animate current lines of inquiry by drawing out connections between those topics and coronavirus.

  • Students might explore how coronavirus impacts issues in the course content, whether mass incarceration, food systems, economic policy, or archival practices to document this historic moment.
  • They could examine how various course theory or texts invite distinct understandings of or perspectives on the pandemic.
  • Students’ own creative and intellectual works over the period of your class can also be digitally collected as artifacts of the pandemic, gathered as an archival project itself.

The CCCE staff is available for consultation as faculty consider these and other modes of engaging the public purposes of the liberal arts in this new landscape.

Contact CCCE Associate Director for Academic Civic Engagement and Scholarship Emily Seru with questions.

Planning for Remote Projects with Community Partners

Assistant Director for Community Impact Erica Zweifel is involved in processing requests from local community organizations for remote projects that would support them in carrying out their core missions. If you would like to learn about these opportunities, contact Erica Zweifel.

Examples and Resources

  • Juliane Schicker Remote ACE Collaboration: Professor Juliane Schicker of the Carleton German Department has already conducted a remote ACE project with a partner school overseas. Using this project as a case study, she has generously created this brief how-to guide, for other faculty interested in designing and implementing remote community engagement in light of the coronavirus.
  • Screencast how-to for Zoom in Spanish. This Spanish instructional video provides an overview on how to download Zoom onto a smartphone, join a Zoom call, and configure the settings and options within a call. It includes a visual screen capture along with instructions in Spanish.
  • Public History in a Socially Distant World,” a post on the Public Works blog by Professor Susannah Ottaway documenting how she reframed the ACE course Historians for Hire from a direct service collaboration model to a civic learning & digital public scholarship model while maintaining her primary learning objectives.
  • Members of the Carleton community—students, alumni, employees, and neighbors—can contribute to preserving our memories of this truly historic moment. Professor Serena Zabin (, Broom Fellow for Public Scholarship, has outlined three ideas for contributing to a future archiveSubmissions through the Broom initiative will be housed on the Carleton Covid-19 Archive website.

Civic Learning, Reflection, and Integration

Here we are going to be sharing examples and resources for faculty developing coursework related to what it means to live in community with others during the coronavirus. What are our responsibilities to those locally, nationally and globally? How can we support students in connecting what they are seeing right now to bodies of scholarship and the realities of structural inequality?

We hope to curate tools that support student’s critical reflection in real time.

Examples and Resources

  • Building Civic Agency in the Era of Coronavirus: This is a guide to six interactive student civic agency exercises that support students in integrating academic and lived experience of the coronavirus through a civic lens with particular attention to culture, identity, and power. In this model, students move through three phases of building civic agency — self, us, and now. Using freely accessible, creative commons-licensed guides for most sessions, faculty may facilitate or adapt the content for their own use or direct students to participate in the CCCE’s online sequence of sessions offered over the course of Spring Term.
  • Example Courses Incorporating Civic Agency Exercises
    • Biology 370: Virology, Professor Debby Walser-Kuntz: This term the course will focus on HIV/AIDS and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Through the reading and discussion of journal articles, students will compare the biology of both viruses, including their origin in other animal species, replication cycles, the development of antiviral drugs, and current vaccine approaches and challenges. However, students will also explore the stigma and social factors impacting each epidemic, policy decisions, the funding of basic research and public health infrastructure, and the costs of healthcare related to viral epidemics. Here they will make use of current news articles, podcasts, animations, and historical documents. In addition to writing a mock NIH grant proposal, each student will develop a public narrative that helps them both process their current experience with the coronavirus and determine an action they can take at the local, national, or global level.
  • Carleton Gould Library Guide for COVID-19 Resources: This guide compiles updates from local and national health agencies, information from the Carleton sphere, as well as current maps and research related to COVID-19. Use these tools to gather background information on the pandemic and explore how different disciplines are engaging with this current moment through data.

More Resources

Many other campuses and organizations have been developing relevant materials and cataloging dynamic existing resources. We will be updating this page frequently with additional content.