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Lectures keep students engaged through virtual interaction
Oxford will host two innovative virtual lectures as part of its Oxford Studies program.

As Oxford College has transitioned to remote learning for the rest of the spring semester, campus leaders are finding unique ways to keep students engaged through learning and interaction.

Oxford will host two innovative virtual lectures as part of its Oxford Studies program. The live lectures, both of which relate to COVID-19, are open to Oxford students, faculty, and staff. These lectures will begin at 7:30 p.m. on April 2 and April 6. Both will include interactive questions and conversation sessions.

During a traditional semester, students take Oxford Studies as a one-hour elective, multidisciplinary course that encourages them to participate in cultural, intellectual, and artistic activities beyond the classroom. They write reflections on the lectures and concerts they attend.

"We wanted to commission for the Oxford College community two talks by Emory experts that focus on understanding and responding to COVID-19," says Dean Douglas A. Hicks. "We are grateful to Dr. Sam Jenness of the Rollins School of Public Health and Dr. Gary Glass of Oxford College for sharing their knowledge."

Samuel Jenness

Samuel Jenness will speak on "Epidemic Models for Projecting the COVID-19 Global Pandemic" on April 2. Access the lecture.

Jenness is an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.

Epidemic models are used to understand the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases, including the novel coronavirus circulating globally. In this lecture, Jenness will describe how epidemic models are built and analyzed for two high-priority uses:

  1. projecting the future number of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to compare against current healthcare capacity; and
  2. estimating the population-level effects of biological and behavioral interventions (such as social distancing) as strategies for preventing disease.

Jenness is the principal investigator of the EpiModel Research Lab, which focuses on developing methods and software tools for modeling infectious diseases. Its primary applications concentrate on understanding HIV and STI transmission in the United States and globally, as well as the intersection between infectious disease epidemiology and network science.

On April 6, Gary Glass will speak on "Family Matters in the COVID-19 Crisis." Access the lecture.

Gary Glass

Glass is director of Counseling and Career Services at Oxford College and a licensed psychologist.

One thing most students have in common is that their family has a significant impact on their experience. Being back home unexpectedly for an extended time can pose some unanticipated challenges.

Glass hopes the lecture will encourage students with supportive families as they face some unexpected stressors during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also wants to assist students who face the challenge of being home when family situations are not ideal—perhaps even negatively impacting students' mental health.

“This program aims to offer students some concepts and techniques to navigate their Family Matters as well as, possibly, connect with peers facing similar challenges or opportunities of being back home with family in this unusual time,” Glass says.

The lecture will explore ways to help students cope with the amplified challenges and hidden advantages to this unusual situation. It could also provide insight to faculty and staff about the experience of students who when they note they may be facing family issues.

Glass adds, “Because the nature of this topic is inherently about private matters, offering this online provides people an opportunity to attend with as much discretion as they need—not only because it's online, but because it can also be viewed as simply a topic of intellectual interest.”

Both lectures can be accessed via a Zoom link that has been provided to Oxford students, faculty, and staff. Students enrolled in Oxford Studies will receive credit for attending.

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