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April 18, 2024

  • Jeanette Winterson for “gAyPRIL”
    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
Spring Housing Guide

COMM 2030: class bridges the gap between generations

The COMM 2030 class is one unlike any other at BGSU, as it has students teach older adults about something often lost between generations—technology.

According to US News, the gap between understandings of current technology is considered one of the biggest differences between generations. Professor Kate Magsamen-Conrad, the main professor of the course, faced difficulties getting opportunities to the University to start the course.

“Before I started my job at BGSU, we were living in Pennsylvania, as I had done my Ph.D at Rutgers,” Magsamen-Conrad said. “We had a really short period of time between when we had listed our house and when we sold it, which was great, but then we were homeless for a period of time. So, we lived on my family’s farm in a trailer next to my brother’s pig barn, which was down the street from my grandmother’s house.”

When they moved, however, it gave Magsamen-Conrad’s grandmother a chance to utilize her granddaughter’s technological and teaching skills to learn more about advancing technology, which later became the basis for the class created years later.

“For my grandmother, it was a great opportunity,” Magsamen-Conrad said. “I lived right down the street, and I could teach her how to use the laptop that she forced me to buy for her on Black Friday the previous November that she hadn’t touched since then. As I was trying to teach my grandmother how to use the laptop, that’s really where the idea came from. I was thinking about how older adults could really benefit from access to all of the things you can get technologically, especially thinking about information sources how much you can manage your health. But, there’s not a whole lot of infrastructure for older adults to gain technology skills.”

She also said that in addition to teaching older adults about technology, it also teaches students to find better ways to teach hard-to-understand topics more patiently and professionally.

“We get kind of stuck when we try to teach family members things,” Magsamen-Conrad said. “There’s a host of reasons related to relationships and roles and communication patterns as to why that is. I was thinking. What if I can provide this need to a community through my coursework as a college professor, I was supposed to be teaching an applied communication course as one of my first courses at BGSU, and because of the late point of the system when they put it in, I didn’t have enough students registered to make the course. So, I was thinking about what courses do we have that exist today that could maybe work … they would need me to teach, and small-group communication was one of them.

Most of the class takes place at the Wood County Committee on Aging senior center in Bowling Green, which they believe has been a big part of the class’s success.

“One thing I did was go to a community partner fair here every year at BGSU,” Magsamen-Conrad said. “I just went around to all of the booths who had representatives who interacted with older adults. I kind of pitched the idea to see if people were interested, and lots of people were interested … I went in to talk to the WCCOA in December 2012 about what I wanted to do in January 2013-they were right on board and have been on board ever since.”

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