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School of Education professor brings “Game of Thrones” theme to virtual classroom

Teacher Leading Zoom

The ethics of “Game of Thrones” was the theme of Associate Professor of Education Cris Wildermuth’s spring 2020 course in the Master of Science in Leadership Development program. In the course, students run simulations, participate in group activities and hold discussions around ethical dilemmas encountered by leaders in “Game of Thrones” and in real life.

Wildermuth said transitioning the interactive course format from in-person to online was a challenge, but she has been able to retain the character of her lessons by making use of technology.

“Imagination and adaptability are essential competencies,” said Wildermuth. “Teaching in the time of the COVID-19 is forcing educators to hone those essential skills.”

Zoom of Class

Associate Professor of Education Cris Wildermuth makes a final speech to students in her spring 2020 course in the Master of Science in Leadership Development program dressed up as Daenerys of Game of Thrones.

Rather than use “bland” PowerPoints or Word documents, Wildermuth said she continued to hold real-time, lively classes with videoconferencing software and online tools that facilitated collaboration. Her students even helped contribute to classes by sending her group online games they could use to reinforce lessons. In her last class of the semester, Wildermuth delivered a speech in High Valyrian—a fictional language from “Game of Thrones”—while wearing a blonde wig resembling the hair of one of the show’s main characters, Daenerys Targaryen.

“The students we’re teaching now did not choose to learn online,” Wildermuth said. “They are learning online because the world changed on them. I feel it’s educators’ responsibility to help students have a learning experience that is as close as possible to the one they signed up for.”

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