Forest operations instructor and student perspectives on rapid transition from face-to-face to online learning in the US

Elizabeth M. Dodson, Charles R. Blinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


During the spring semester of 2020, American universities, along with many others across the world, rapidly transitioned mid-term from traditional face-to-face classes to online learning methods to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus causing Covid-19. While this transition was a challenge for most instructors and students to navigate, it posed specific and unique challenges to forest operations instructors and their courses that historically have relied on supervised field experiences as a critical method for delivering course content. Surveys were sent to instructors specializing in forest operations at American universities and to their students to help researchers gather information on techniques that worked and did not work to convey course content using online learning methods. A qualitative exploration of survey responses indicate that both students and faculty struggled with the transition to online learning but that limited success was found through course modifications such as to field lab activities, asynchronous content delivery, and modified learning expectations. Results have prompted sharing of teaching strategies amongst instructors facing continued uncertainty of delivery mode for field-dependent courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-11
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Forest Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors want to thank the forest operations instructors and their students who responded to the survey. This research was supported by the Montana Forest and Conservation Experiment Station; the Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota; and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station under project MN-42-072.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Forest Products Society.


  • Covid-19
  • engagement
  • Face-to-face instruction
  • field experiences


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