Written by Lucero Benitez, COSS Communications Specialist

When the COVID 19 pandemic stalled in-person classes in 2020 and students were forced to adjust to remote instruction and course work, professors also had to adjust by being responsive to the virtual world and implementing virtual assignments. For some, that innovation led to assignments that became part of the ongoing curriculum. 

Chicano and Latin American Studies professor Dr. Luis Fernando Macias replaced in-person presentations with coursework that integrated the use of social media while students synthesized the material they learned to show they understood it.

For one assignment Macias created, students had to watch a documentary or listen to a podcast for “CLAS 3: an Introduction to Chicano/Latino Studies,” then make a one- to three-minute video highlighting the main points of the assignment. 

“What I have found is that students are absolutely creative, they’re absolutely engaged when they are given the opportunity to try something new,” Macias said.

He expected students to have fun and demonstrate their content knowledge but it was also a way for him to get to know his students, a difficult task during a virtual class where students can choose to have their cameras and microphones off. 

Many students said the opportunity to incorporate social media into their assignments piqued their interest.

“With our generation mainly revolving around technology and mostly getting their news from social media through tweets, reposts or other people’s posts, an assignment like the one I did in Dr. Macias’s course can be very beneficial to a larger audience,” said Fresno State student Danna Martinez.

Macias said these types of assignments have the most potential to help students demonstrate their content knowledge and synthesize material in a way that is engaging while demonstrating what they do in an ethnic studies class. 

Read more in Fresno State News.