Pivoting online

Student looking at notebook and laptop.

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The University of Missouri System has worked around the clock to support faculty as courses shift online.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the U.S., the University of Missouri is temporarily shifting to remote learning after Thanksgiving to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

To pivot to an online format, faculty and staff were able to take advantage of the multitude of course creation tools provided by the UM System Office of eLearning. To meet the increased need, the eLearning team enhanced existing, and developed new, training courses for faculty and staff.

“We started by providing immediate support that was needed at the end of March to transition into the online/remote modality and digital learning space,” said Matthew Gunkel, chief eLearning officer for the UM System. “From there, we really worked to fill out additional training opportunities that would support faculty in the summer in preparation for fall, to really make them more robust for online and hybrid education.”

From learning how to effectively engage students in class discussion via Zoom to creating engaging videos and reworking assessments, faculty who have pivoted their classes online have had to adapt and develop innovative ways to deliver curriculum. The asynchronous, self-paced trainings created by the instructional designers at eLearning first helped instructors switch to a virtual format in March. Later, those same trainings helped prepare faculty for a very different kind of fall semester.

Usually, it takes faculty and instructional design teams six to nine months to build an online course, said Stacy Snow, eLearning’s director for marketing and recruitment. But the need to pivot this spring accelerated the pace, and the new online training courses for faculty were live within a mere three weeks.

“We were used to supporting individual colleges and departments at each university, and basically moved to now needing to try to support all of the instructors across the system,” said Stephanie McClelland, senior director of the UM System Office of eLearning. “It was a big shift for us to try to figure out how we take our individual expertise and experience and apply that to a broader range of instructors at a much faster pace than we normally would.”

According to McClelland, more than 2,000 instructors took advantage of the training courses between March and September, which is about a 300 — 400% increase from previous years.

Read more at Show Me Mizzou

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