How do you humanize a virtual course? How do we design significant learning experiences in remote instructional contexts? What does quality online teaching and learning look like?
These are questions instructors around the nation are grappling with amid the pandemic and are a few of several timely topics Humboldt State University faculty will have a chance to explore this summer. Although HSU has not made a final decision about how fall instruction will look, this programming is part of an effort to prepare for all teaching scenarios.
HSU’s Center for Teaching & Learning is offering a series of workshops, seminars, and a Pivot to Online Learning & Teaching course as part of its commitment to help educators develop quality digitally enhanced teaching and learning experiences.
These professional development experiences are part of the University’s continuing effort to support faculty so they’re prepared to provide quality remote instruction during the next academic year.
“Our emphasis is to provide as many professional development opportunities as possible to ensure our faculty continue to deliver a high-quality education, no matter the modality of instruction,” says HSU Vice Provost Mary Oling-Sisay.
For the last several years, the CTL has been a clearinghouse of resources and services designed to help faculty become more effective teachers. The Center has taken on a critical role during the pandemic, helping instructors shift to remote instruction in March when all in-person classes were made virtual.
“Faculty faced a difficult task transitioning so quickly to remote instruction due to COVID-19. We wanted to make sure they knew they were not alone, and that the CTL was here to support them in any way we could and will continue to do,” says CTL Director Enoch Hale.
Going forward the CTL is moving to a more proactive stance as it prepares for fall instruction. The Center will focus on adapting the CSU Quality Learning and Teaching tool for faculty to evaluate the quality of the course materials they create during summer programming. Sessions will be ongoing from summer through fall. Additionally, there will be a two-day workshop just before classes start in the fall to get faculty ready.
A primary goal is to meet faculty where they are. There are multiple ways faculty can participate, but in every case the emphasis is on developing high quality educational experiences.
Faculty will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of learning activities including workshops, seminars, webinars, and learning communities. These address a variety of topics, from fostering relationships and establishing social presence in remote instructional environments to adopting technological tools and strategies within Canvas (HSU’s online learning management system) and beyond.
“We want faculty to develop their virtual voice,” says Oling-Sisay. “This will enable faculty to feel empowered as they occupy virtual spaces by establishing authentic relationships with students that consequently increases student engagement.”
Beginning in early June, enrichment opportunities include:
—Intro to Canvas and Online Assignments/Activities (self-paced)
—Leveraging Multimedia (self-paced)
—Transparent Assignment Design + Rubric (live workshop)
—Canvas Gradebook & SpeedGrader: Grading and Feedback (live workshop)
—Low Bandwidth Teaching (live workshop)
—Humanizing Online Learning and Teaching (live workshop)
—Engaging Large Classes Online (live workshop)
—Pivot to Online Learning and Teaching course
—Teaching Today’s Learners (self-paced)
(includes Using Canvas Analytics to Identify High Opportunity Students)
—Pivotal Pedagogy (self-paced)
—Writing Better Test Questions (live workshop)
—Engaging Learners Using VoiceThread (self-paced)
—Pivot to Online Learning & Teaching Course (asynchronous – 4 weeks)
The CTL and the Learning Center are also collaborating this summer to develop resources, tutorials, and asynchronous learning programs for students on what it takes to be a successful learner generally and in remote instructional settings more specifically.
“Just as we are supporting faculty as they work to deliver high-quality digitally enhanced learning experiences, so too are we supporting students to help them better understand what it means to think and learn in remote instructional settings,” says Hale.