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Since March 2020, the Kirwan Center has been assessing the USM institutions’ needs in order to make a successful pivot to more effective online learning. That will be best accomplished by sharing resources, providing faculty/staff professional development, and increasing instructional design and technology capacity.
The following direct supports are being made available through USM OnTrack. To learn more about any of these components of the initiative, please email email@example.com.
“Ready-to-Adopt” Online Courses
USM OnTrack is helping USM institutions to accelerate their online transition strategy through the temporary adoption of UMGC courses for delivery to their students this fall. Host institutions will identify candidate courses and create a “friction free” process in which students register at the host institution, as usual. Actual placement of students into the UMGC courses, details on tuition reconciliation, assignment of credit, and the like, will be addressed through interinstitutional MOUs and implemented by back-office operations.
Adaptive Courseware for High-enrollment Courses
USM OnTrack is supporting efforts to transition high-enrollment courses (large lecture, multi-section) through the use of adaptive courseware, which promises to improve students’ and faculty experience by “flipping” the classroom, creating a more interactive platform for content delivery, and reserving time spent with faculty for facilitated application of learning through active, problem-based, online pedagogies. Our contract with partner Lumen Learning includes up-front training for incorporating the courseware and analytics dashboards into online pedagogy, support throughout the semester, and facilitated learning communities where faculty within disciplines across USM institutions can share and learn from each other.
Virtual Reality Technologies for Lab-based Courses
USM OnTrack is providing faculty training and inter-institutional coordination of resources to explore the use of virtual reality technologies by Labster for use in lab-based courses. Virtual reality technologies give students access to realistic lab experiences that will let them perform experiments and practice their skills. These tools promise to provide sufficiently high-fidelity simulations for learning lab techniques and inquiry skills, particularly for lower-level lab courses.
Instructional Design Support Services
USM OnTrack has contracted with iDesign to provide a pool of instructional design service hours that institutions can use as needed for individual faculty support and/or course development for those courses they choose to convert themselves. This will greatly expand institutional capacity to rapidly move courses online and give USM campuses a way to triage their current and future needs. Through this contract, USM institutions will also receive web-based resources for faculty on the fundamentals of online instructional design and pedagogy as well as online learning orientation materials for students.
Professional Development Workshops
USM OnTrack is pre-purchasing a pool of online teaching professional development workshops from Quality Matters on beginning to advanced topics, including designing for learner engagement, flipping the online course, setting expectations with students, active learning strategies, accessibility, and online assessment. The Kirwan Center will also be offering additional workshops on diversity and inclusion, accessibility, and rethinking assessments for academic integrity.