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NDLW recap: Faculty, Staff, Students Discuss Online Learning

Join us for monthly candid conversations starting SP23

This year's National Distance Learning Week 2022 Lunchtime Series (November 7-11) at UMBC created space for candid conversations about online learning. These conversations featured 11 panelists who represented faculty, staff, and students sharing their challenges, accomplishments, and lessons learned. 

Instructional Technology will continue hosting monthly candid conversations about online learning starting in spring 2023. Follow us on myUMBC for the latest information about dates, times, and guests.  

If you missed one of these candid conversations during National Distance Learning Week check out the session takeaways below or watch/listen to the recorded session.

Monday, November 7th topic: What does good course design look like? (session recording) 
  • Panelists:Dr. Louise Murray, Director, Undergraduate Programs and Clinical Associate Professor in the Erickson School of Aging Studies; Mr. Gary Williams Jr., Senior Lecturer, Emergency Health Services Department and Clinical Coordinator, Paramedic Concentration; Dr. Eileen O'Brien, Director, College Teaching & Learning Science (CTLS) Post Master's Certificate Program; and, Dr. John Schumacher, Professor, Department of  Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health, Co-Director Doctoral Program in Gerontology.
  • Key takeaways: Faculty shared their experiences in online course design and how the Quality Matters framework strengthened their design after taking a course through a formal course review. The rigor of the QM peer-review process also presented faculty with challenges in understanding, learning, and designing for new technologies and methods of designing learning. As they applied what they learned about effective online course design, faculty shared that students reported a clearer understanding of what was expected in the online course, where to find content, and how they were going to be assessed.

Tuesday, November 8th topic: How do we engage disconnected students? (session recording) 

  • Panelists:Gary Rozanc, Assistant Professor Graphic Design, Department of Visual Arts (CAHSS); Nancy McAllister, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Science, Geography & Environmental Systems Department (CAHSS); and Dr. Sarah Bass, Lecturer of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry (CNMS). 
  • Key takeaways: Faculty shared how their approach to engaging online students evolved from the start of the pandemic to more recent practices. During the fall of 2020, engaging students meant using multiple methods to help online students connect with one other, instructor, and content. In the fall of 2022 with a return to campus, our panelists reported rethinking how they use technology in-person. Today's students  enter college with more experience and comfort using technology and perhaps with a different motivation for learning. Panelists noted that how they taught pre-pandemic may not align with today's first-year students who are seeing the work they'll be doing in the future happening in asynchronous and remote formats. Our panelists asked, what does this mean to engagement in any class format and the ways students are choosing to learn post-pandemic?

Wednesday, November 9 topic: How do we counter the myths of online learning? (session recording) 

  • Panelists: Thirandie Bambaradeniya, Director of Sustainability, Student Government Association (UMBC 23); Dr. Tara Carpenter, Principal Lecturer, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry; Dr. Toby Gouker, Acting Graduate Program Director, Engineering Management; and Dr. Delana Gregg, Director of Academic Learning Resources, Assessment, and Analysis. 
  • Key takeaways: When it comes to the myth that online learning is easy, panelists were in agreement that online learning is not easier than in-person as it requires students to be even more disciplined in managing their time and asking for help. Debunking the myth that online students don't interact with each other or the instructor, our panelists noted that teaching online is often more intensive and intentional, as students cannot 'hide' in the back of the online classroom. When it comes to the myth that everyone cheats in an online course, panelists said faculty have since created multiple ways for students to be tested, including more formative or open-note assignments. In considering where UMBC could go with online learning, panelists noted that online learning has long been a useful tool for decades and in a post-pandemic time, it remains a viable choice for many students. They would encourage UMBC to consider how we can provide online learning effectively and continue to put services in place to help support our online learners.  
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Posted: November 14, 2022, 5:04 PM