OFCD Collects, Publishes Remote Teaching ‘Success Stories’

Olivia DrakeSeptember 8, 20203min

Several remote teaching and learning “success stories” are now published on the Office for Faculty Career Development’s (OFCD) Teaching Matters website.

“We hope the stories inspire others to make changes and make it clear to everyone that it was possible to make the transition well,” said Mary Alice Haddad, the John E. Andrus Professor of Government and director of the OFCD.

The stories are based on surveys administered by Academic Affairs last spring. Although there were many courses that went well in spring 2020, Haddad selected to present a diversity of courses drawn from different class sizes, pedagogy styles, synchronous/asynchronous teaching, and divisions.

Lindsay Dolan, assistant professor of government, taught a 12-student project-based seminar titled Experiments in International Development. During online learning, the class met synchronously (using Zoom) for half the class, and also in Zoom breakout groups, where students worked through puzzles and activities together.

Most of the course readings were examples of experiments in international development, and students were required to comprehend the papers before discussing them in class.

“When we transitioned to online learning, I cut the reading load to one paper per week and required students to read the paper using the Perusall platform, where they could comment and engage with each other interactively on the text itself. This allowed them and me to resolve confusion/clarification issues before class so we could spend our precious synchronous time discussing the meatier topics that emerged in threads on Perusall.”

Sarah Carney, assistant professor of the practice in psychology, wrote about her experience remotely teaching a 216-student entry-level course titled Foundations of Contemporary Psychology.

During spring break, Carney video-recorded her own lectures and uploaded them to a private YouTube channel. She then posted the lecture that matched the day of the course in the syllabus.

“My class met on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:50–10:10 a.m., so I made sure to post the lecture by 8:50 so that students who wanted to take the course somewhat synchronously … could,” she explained.

After posting all of the unit lectures, Carney used Moodle’s “quiz” application to create an online test for each topic. In addition, she created discussion questions that were posted both on Moodle forums and on the class’s Facebook page.

Read about other Spring Semester success stories online here.