The rapid onset of the COVID-19 crisis in March led to the sudden conversion of Utah State University courses to online formats, an unexpected transition that has been a challenge for both students and faculty. As the future of education continues to change dramatically, faculty are forced to acquire new teaching strategies that allow them to overcome the unique obstacles that arise with distance learning.
In an effort to provide USU instructors with additional information and skills more suited to teaching fully remote courses, a partnership was created with between the Office of Empowering Teaching Excellence and the Center for Student Analytics to produce a series of webinars that describes some of these strategies in detail.
Conceived under the guidance of Mitchell Colver, manager and senior data analyst at the Center for Student Analytics, these 30-minute videos illustrate specific tools that faculty can use to empower their students to excel in remote learning environments. The Remote Teaching & Learning Analytics Web Series reinforces the idea that “Faculty are more important now than ever,” as data scientist Brayden Ross states in one of the videos.
Over the course of a week, Colver interviewed students during a series of 90-minute focus groups. The students were queried about their experiences with learning remotely over the past month, and they were specifically asked about interactions with members of the USU faculty.
“The transition to remote learning has caused many students to feel disconnected from their instructors and overwhelmed by course material,” Colver said. “But they still remain optimistic about the future, and their responses spurred the development of these webinars, which will help student feel more connected to members of the faculty and the courses they teach.”
Subjects touched on in the first five sessions include: “Low Effort, High-Impact Teaching Strategies for Remote Learning Environments,” “Providing Students with Quality Feedback,” “Rigor & Relief in Remote Learning Environments,” “Promptness in Grading” and “Learning Instructional Services to Optimize Remote-based Teaching.”
Chuck Carpenter is among the members of the USU faculty who have already utilized the webinars and has found them to be highly valuable.
“The webinars outline what assurances would benefit students, including that we are in this together, that their learning and well-being is of importance to you, that you will be flexible and considering of their unique circumstances. I encourage you to take a half an hour and view it,” said Carpenter, head of the Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences Department.
Colver said the Center for Student Analytics will continue to collect and analyze student feedback and other quantitative data in preparation for future webinars on additional subjects.
The webinars can be accessed at https://www.usu.edu/ais/analytics/remotelearning. The Center for Student Analytics also welcomes feedback, questions, and comments, which you can submit to Colver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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University Marketing and Communications
Manager and Senior Data Analyst
Center for Student Analytics