Sports Leadership participates in school’s first virtual class

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Twenty-six students in the Sports Leadership program participated in the school’s first virtual class discussion on Google Meets on Tuesday. Members of the men’s and women’s basketball, bowling, cheer, flag football, track and field, and volleyball teams exchanged views what they learned about the adversity the University of Oregon women’s basketball team faced during their 2018-19 season and how they planned to “Rise Above.”

“I thought it went very well,” Sports Leadership teacher Billy Hemberger said. “It took a little bit of me figuring out [how to run the seminar]. I thought it was very controlled; we got a lot of participation. It was interesting and successful.”

Hemberger said he decided to do the virtual seminar after Principal Tam Larnerd asked him to test out one of two video conference apps, Google Meets or Zoom, in a classroom setting. After that, Hemberger sent his class four videos about the topic and asked who wanted to join in the discussion. 

“I picked [the topic] because it was dealing with adversity and figuring out how to overcome adversity,” Hemberger said. “Obviously, it’s very relevant to what we’re going through right now, and as I always say, sports is a simulation of life. So, it was kind of a way to talk about going through what we’re going through without using the coronavirus.” 

During the test run he scheduled on Monday, Hemberger set standards, like the three-before-me rule (three people must talk before the current speaker can talk again). He also asked for his volunteers to complete a document that he said would help them prepare for the next day and set up how the discussion was going to run (everyone was to be muted until they are picked to talk, anyone who wanted to talk needed to type ‘next’ in the chat).

 After the test run, he split the 26 volunteers into two groups, each with their own set of questions made by the students and picked by Hemberger based on the four videos.

“Coach H did a phenomenal job at leading the conversation,” varsity cheerleader Cody Funk said. “He did an amazing job with setting it up and getting participants for the virtual discussion.”

Larnerd said he was impressed with both how Hemberger conducted the seminar and the participation from the students.

“I think it was a perfect example of what great things can happen if a teacher takes the time to plan accordingly prior to the seminar,” Larnerd said. “[Hemberger] communicated clear directions regarding online protocols (muting, typing next, snaps, etc). I was thoroughly impressed.”

Hemberger said he believes that thanks to his efforts and the 26 students who participated in the seminar, teachers will begin to have online classes and lectures through Google Meets and Zoom during the school closure caused by COVID-19.

“I feel like as long as the other teachers are as well prepared as Coach H, the discussion will work,” varsity basketball guard Garrisen Freeman said. “But for certain subjects like math, it would be hard to have a discussion for classes like those.”