14:14 PM

Ohio State ramps up virtual learning

University launches new site to help faculty prepare for virtual instruction

This week, The Ohio State University announced the temporary suspension of face-to-face instruction through the end of the spring semester in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But learning will continue as students, faculty and staff prepare to move forward with virtual instruction.

Before classes resume March 23, there is a massive effort underway to get that virtual instruction program rolled out. The university launched the Keep Teaching website this week to offer temporary remote-teaching resources.

“We know this is not easy and we know that we’re asking for change in a very quick manner,” said Michael Hofherr, vice president and chief information officer.

Hofherr said the university is asking faculty to start with CarmenCanvas, the university’s learning management system, and publish their course in the system. Instructors are asked to follow the “Carmen Key Three.”

Faculty are urged to revise their syllabus and make sure it’s uploaded in the proper section, logically organize and make available all course materials, organize and update gradebooks, and be sure to regularly post grades for assignments and assessments.

The Keep Teaching site has a series of videos and linked articles to support this effort. A similar site is available for students. The Keep Learning website offers advice, tools and resources to help student learning during the evolving COVID-19 situation.

“We have a large percentage of our courses already on the learning management system,” Hofherr said. “For our large section courses, anything over 100 students, we have 90 to 95% of those courses already using the platform. So we’re confident that a lot of our faculty are comfortable with the technology.”

The university is also using CarmenZoom, an academic web conferencing tool. Faculty can use Zoom to record lectures and share them with students. The site can also host group meetings and live discussions.

The Office of Distance Education and eLearning and the University Institute for Teaching and Learning are both hosting virtual “open office hours” through the Zoom app this week. Ohio State instructors can drop in on these conferences to learn best practices as they move forward with temporary online teaching.

“This effort is about creating the opportunity for instruction and ensuring that students can complete the semester successfully, while at the same time keeping the campus community safe,” said Liv Gjestvang, associate vice president for learning technology. “We are very grateful for the commitment of our faculty and staff to making this possible.”

She said a resource center, a service desk hotline and online help sessions at the Keep Teaching website are available to help.

Hofherr said the university will continue to add resources to help instructors succeed.

“We are ready. We’re here to help our faculty move forward, but we know this is going to be a challenge.”

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