An Interdisciplinary Model for Teaching about the Human Impacts of Pandemics
Aims & Scope
Drawing on the experiences of pandemics past and present, Pandemic Pedagogies is a collection interdisciplinary curriculum developed by a team of faculty across The Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, including faculty members from the departments of Dance, History, Microbiology, and Philosophy, and a Bexley High School master history teacher.
This curriculum we have designed is intended to achieve several concurrent learning objectives:
1. Help students master course material.
2. Increase student empathy and awareness of the complexities of a pandemic (past or present).
3. Introduce students to an interdisciplinary approach to studying the human impacts of a pandemic (again, past or present).
As a team, we have developed three activities to spur students’ thinking about the human impacts of pandemics. The activities may be used individually or collectively, and as either a short one to two class activity or as a semester long project.
Commemorating and Remembering Pandemics
Too often, pandemics are only remembered primarily through data and statistics, while neglecting the raw human impacts. This exercise invites questions about how we can remember and commemorate pandemics past or present without losing sight of these powerful human impacts.
Experiencing Pandemics from Multiple Perspectives
This activity aims to introduce students to a range of perspectives and how they might experience a pandemic/public health crisis differently. It explores how decision-making processes require the consideration of a wide range of variables and how those variables interact to shape the outcome of a decision.
Spatial Awareness and Embodied Practices
This exercise helps students to experience and appreciate physical and spatial awareness through physical and virtual embodied practice and play. It uses interactive exercises to consider how risk and infection occur in a social and physical space.
This curriculum has been designed by an interdisciplinary team of faculty at The Ohio State University and Bexley High School. This project was funded by a Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme COVID-19 Special Grants Initiative.
We would love to hear from faculty using this curriculum in their classrooms with questions or feedback about the curriculum.