The human connection: Zoom, Q&As and guitar solos

Tom Snediker takes a break from instructional videos to play the guitar with his wife, Jennifer Snediker.

Technology is a part of everyday life for the Radford University Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) team. When online classes began as a result of COVID-19, Tom Snediker, an instructional designer, knew he needed to use his experience to help his coworkers adjust.

“Tom has always been known for superior support and creative solutions, but his abilities and caring nature have truly risen to something beyond amazing during these tough times,” said Charley Cosmato, who serves as the CITL Director.

When changes began impacting Radford University faculty, Snediker and his fellow CITL team members sprang into action and created a support center using the Zoom platform to work with faculty members who were not as familiar with online teaching. Snediker and the CITL team fielded questions about teaching online, guide staff through solutions to common problems and in some cases served as a listening ear as faculty too, by trying to understand the current pandemic. Every now and then, Snediker ends his instructional videos with a guitar solo to soothe the stress away and encourage human connection.

Snediker uses a professors-only Facebook page to deliver his educational videos. He says he knew faculty would need a way to connect, and this group was a great way to start.

“The faculty are sharing things that are and are not working. We want these professors to know they aren’t alone in this. Sometimes, it’s nice to just talk to another human being about what we’re all going through. We’ve never been in this position before, so we’re all working through strategies together,” said Snediker.

Grateful for the recognition of Charley as part of the #HighlandersRise initiative, Snediker humbly redirects the credit saying, “It’s the faculty and students who are the superheroes. I just want to be the Robin to their Batman.”

#HighlandersRise is an initiative to spotlight how Radford University students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members push through fear and frustration to pursue their hopes and dreams, even in trying times. Our resiliency sustains us, and our responsiveness empowers us. The entire Radford family, both near and far, is demonstrating a tremendous amount of strength during the unprecedented times we are facing locally, regionally and globally.

Apr 6, 2020
Christina Edney