The following is submitted by Melissa Nolan, M.S., Director of the Nancy W. Darden Child Development Center at East Carolina University
With the very challenging COVID-19 crisis, it has become increasingly obvious to children that their everyday lives are changing. Therefore, they may have a lot of questions. Although no one expects you to have all of the answers to their questions, it is extremely important to have conversations with children to reduce their fears and anxieties.
Here are a few tips to consider when talking to children about COVID-19:
- Be available to talk and listen.
- Children often talk about the things that worry them during low-risk situations (e.g., bath time, dinner time, coloring, etc).
- Be honest, open, and vulnerable.
- It’s okay to tell them that you don’t know the answer to their questions.
- Validate their feelings and reassure them.
- Let them know that it’s okay to feel scared, worried, and/or sad.
- Give them permission to feel happy, excitement, and joy. Some children will see their parents worry and feel like they are not supposed to feel positive emotions during this time.
- Remind them no matter what happens you love them and they will be taken care of.
- Avoid providing too much information.
- Only answer the questions that they ask.
- Answer questions with accurate information and avoid stigmatization.
- Limit/monitor their exposure to online articles, news programs, and other commentary about COVID-19. Young children have a hard time making sense of what they see. Too much information can increase their anxiety.
- Remind them of ways to prevent COVID-19 (handwashing, social distancing, etc).
As instructors, we spend countless hours creating, editing, and revising content for our students. Syllabi, lectures, exams, activities, and other course material are created to support and enhance the educational experience. Although these materials are shared by current, former, and future students, they remain the property of the instructor and/or the institution.
A recent phenomenon that is challenging the notion of the intellectual property of instructor created course content is the number of online sites which offer compensation for access to course materials. Sites such as Campus Shift, Course Hero, and NexusNotes are just a few who provide compensation to students for the sale of their course materials. These sites allow students to upload their course materials for free, and then pays them a commission for each sale thereafter. They can also earn free access to content on the site with each upload. A quick search for institution and course will lead you to pages and pages of uploaded materials available for purchase and download.
Our institution recently created a policy to add to the student code of conduct in reference to selling coursework online. In order to prohibit the commercial exploitation of course material, the following statement was adopted and added to our copyright regulations:
Notes of classroom and laboratory lectures, syllabi, exercises and other course materials taken by Students shall not be deemed Student Works, may only be used for personal educational purposes, and shall not be used for commercialization by the Student generating such notes or by any third party without the express written permission of the author of such Works. Violation of University Policy may be grounds for disciplinary action pursuant with the Student Conduct Process.
It does not appear that these sites are going anywhere and they are proving to be quite popular among contemporary college students. Universities and academic programs might consider adopting a similar policy to protect the integrity and accessibility of instructor created course content.
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