A Time of Transition


KSU faculty and staff have shifted into high gear to transition to remote learning. Please note that this is remote learning, which means that faculty did not design these courses from the outset to be delivered via online platforms. Instead, they are taking instructional materials designed for face-to-face delivery and figuring out ways to deliver remotely to their students. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Faculty members are tailoring their solutions for what makes sense for each unique course. This is not easy, nor is it perfect. However, their efforts are ensuring that each and every student will complete this semester. This is no small feat in this unique time.

I have spoken with a number of faculty, staff and students after our first days in this new instructional paradigm. Universally, it is evident that a focus on intentional and constant communication is pivotal. Reach out to one another frequently and ask for clarification or provide reassurance.

So many faculty and staff are stepping up to this challenge. I would like to focus this week on some examples of the strategies faculty members are using with their classes. Next week, I’ll turn to a focus on how students are adapting to a world of 100% remote instruction.

All are to be commended. What we are learning during this time will make us stronger and wiser in future challenges we will face. Here are some faculty highlights:

  • Sherri Booker, lecturer of instructional technology in the Bagwell College of Education, felt that the best approach was to put together several tutorial videos, walking students through lessons just as she would if they were in class. On KSU’s first day of all-remote classes, Booker was live online for seven straight hours during the different sections of her courses, giving her students a comfort level that she was online with them and was there to answer any questions.
  • Michael Maloni, professor of management in the Coles College of Business, is conducting his classes live, sharing his presentations and engaging with the students in online conversations. So far, this former online skeptic says that he and his students are adjusting to the new world order, and it’s “business as usual.”
  • Tom Vizcarrondo, assistant professor of communication in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, has used multiple methods of instruction, tailored to each of his classes. Using recorded lectures, virtual classrooms, and individualized emails, he has transitioned his classes while employing measured communications to his students to avoid information overload. His focus on continuing outreach not just with students, but with other departments, technology managers and colleagues has fueled his success.
  • Muhammad Salman, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is teaching three classes, one lab and seven directed study students. He gives online lectures via the Collaborate Ultra tool on D2L and he has increased his online availability plus the use of conference calls for proctoring the groups in his Product Realization class of 65 students. He recently gave an online test using the software available on D2L which used the Respondus Lockdown browser to keep the integrity level high.
  • Andrea Knowlton, assistant professor of dance, is teaching three classes that usually rely on in-class, face-to-face instruction. For her modern dance techniques class, she has provided recordings of voice guidance for students as they move and then they provide a reflection of the experience. She also has her students tape their dance warm-ups and then using a time-lapse, she reviews them to make sure they have been completed.
  • Babak Moazzez, assistant professor of mathematics, is using Collaborate Ultra to broadcast lectures live to his students and also is recording the lectures for those who cannot be present. During lectures and office hours, he uses an iPad with an Apple Pencil to write notes for his students. When he learned that many of his colleagues did not have access to the same technology, he generously offered his time to others to help them learn to utilize whatever technologies they had access to, and suggested a low-cost alternative his College could purchase to give others the ability to handwrite when needed.
  • Mary Beth Maguire, assistant professor of nursing, is leading the charge to harness technology for its maximum use. She was already teaching nursing research online, but now she has developed creative ideas for MSN students to meet the learning objectives for a study abroad course that was canceled. Maguire is helping faculty use Microsoft Teams to continue MSN curriculum meetings. On a lighter note, she organized a virtual faculty happy hour last Friday to celebrate their successes as they work to keep students’ learning moving forward.
  • Mokter Hossain, Dexter Howard, Kaleigh Kendrick, and Doug Malcolm, lecturers in the College of Computing and Software Engineering, have come together to support their students in the first year, introductory programming courses. With over 1,100 students in their sections, they and their seven graduate lab assistants are working well online as a team, posting lectures and sample assignments with solutions, and using screencasting (via VoiceThread and Repl.it) to show narrated examples of what they would otherwise be doing in their face-to-face courses. The team has also doubled their office hours to provide help to students with individual questions.
  • Tim Frank, assistant professor of architecture, is one of several faculty members who have discovered innovative ways to teach studio courses. Typically held in the expansive studio spaces held on campus, discussion sessions are now being held via Zoom video conferences or on Collaborate. Missing what can be valuable face time for "desk crits," which are opportunities for students to receive direct critiques on their physical drawings or models, many faculty members have shifted to schedule one-on-one meetings with students through video chat to offer guidance.

Pamela Whitten


Written By Whitten