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ISU Professors adapting to New Ways of learning

Written by on March 20, 2020

Photo courtesy to ISU Facebook page

NORMAL, Ill.- The world is changing, and it is changing fast. Of course, everyone is concerned for the youth and our students.

But what about the professors and teachers that have to shift traditional teaching methods?

Specifically at Illinois State University, who is working towards a new way of learning.

Some of the tops concerns are making such massive changes to pedagogy in the middle of a semester is truly unprecedented and faculty are concerned about being able to provide a quality learning experience for our students.

“Through all of our decisions, we have placed the students first and will do everything we can to ensure that students are able to continue to make progress toward their degree,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jan Murphy.

Faculty are also concerned about those students who are home without access to computers and/or the internet.

They are trying to develop alternative modes of instruction to help those students.

With varying experiences, professors with some experiences may be able to provide insight on how to effectively create efficient learning environments.

“It is hard to say for sure, but I imagine those faculty who have taught online courses in the past will have a better handle on how to set up their F2F courses in an alternative delivery method,” said Murphy.

However, the University has a number of resources available for faculty who have not taught online before.

The Center for Teaching Learning and Technology is actively working with our faculty to transform their courses into alternative delivery.

Each College also has IT professionals who are there to support our faculty with this transition. And, the university’s Offices of Academic Technology and Administrative Technology are working diligently to ensure that the University’s systems are ready for this switch.

The “Redbirds Keep Teaching” website is available for faculty to help them with this transition.

One College of Arts and Sciences Instructor Karen Schieler is among the faculty at ISU, but she shares that her experience will help her in the coming days.

“I only teach one class and work full time for a company that does a lot of meetings and communications in a virtual  environment, so much of the digital learning technology is familiar to me,” said Schieler.
“Transitioning a class  to all online, changing assignments, lectures and the overall experience is a challenge, it’s changing the whole dynamic for the second half of the semester.”
She can’t imagine how challenging this may be for faculty members with a full class load.
As classes resume next week, she hopes she is able to replicate the experience of the classroom to a digital classroom and give her students the same level of interaction and education.
With children being home from school, that will create many more challenges for professors and teachers who double as parents.

Murphy said this is certainly a concern for all of ISU employees who will be working from home, but the positive is that parents are able to be with their children during this unprecedented pandemic event.

“In terms of faculty being focused, it’s important to note that even under normal circumstances, faculty do not have eight hours per day jobs,” said Murphy.

They are working in the evenings and on weekends to write lectures, prepare laboratory demonstrations and grade, so faculty will acclimate themselves quickly to these new circumstances.

“I am so proud of how our faculty and staff have kept a positive attitude during this time of incredible uncertainty,” said Murphy.

“We have amazing faculty, staff and students at this institution, and I am honored to be a part of the Illinois State community,” said Murphy.

“We will make it through this emergency as a united community and we will be stronger when its over.”