Celebrating National Distance Learning Week, Pt. 1

November 12, 2020

It’s officially National Distance Learning Week (NDLW)! Originally intended to generate greater awareness and appreciation for distance learning, NDLW takes on special meaning this year as students, faculty, and staff continue to adapt to our “new normal”. In celebration of the College’s transition to online and hybrid learning, Nexus is hosting a 2-part blog series to highlight some of the milestones achieved since March and resources that can help faculty plan for the semester ahead.

Adapting Amid disruption

The College of Engineering has long been a leader in distance education, with over 25 years of graduate distance learning programs and online degrees that rank in the top-5 nationally. Since COVID-19, that leadership has been on full display, with faculty stepping up to develop new strategies for content delivery, adopting new technologies, and finding new ways to foster student engagement. Through its instructional consultations and lecture recording support, Nexus has seen firsthand the effort put forth by faculty, staff, and academic units this year.

Instructional Consultations

Since May, Nexus has offered one-on-one instructional consultations to all faculty and GSIs teaching Fall 2020 and/or Winter 2021 courses. Faculty from across the College have used these as an opportunity to plan their courses, develop content, and implement new strategies aimed at helping students succeed regardless of geographic location. Over the summer months, Team Nexus held over 100 consultations, most of which lasted between 30-120 minutes each. Notably, 100% of faculty reported learning something new or useful during consultation that they would implement in their course. As faculty prepare for the Winter 2021 semester, Nexus can help in a wide range of areas, including: 

  • Course setup and structure
  • Canvas navigation
  • ADA accessibility
  • Exam delivery strategies
  • Administering remote quizzes and exams
  • Recording content and lectures
  • Fostering engagement and interactivity

Thank you for your assistance with the development of my Canvas course. I'm successfully preparing annotated PPT lectures on my iPad and using Loom on my desktop to videotape the lectures. This is great progress from even a week ago and I definitely could not have done this without your help.

Philip Roe, PhD

Professor, Aerospace Engineering

High Production Quality Lecture Recordings

The College was able to quickly pivot from emergency remote teaching to enhanced remote teaching because of the effort faculty made to plan and pre-record content. From June-September 2020 alone, 58 individual faculty recorded lectures in Nexus studios, which accounted for over 1,000 hours of lecture time. By the end of 2020, over 580 lectures will have been recorded since June. By pre-recording content, faculty have been able to plan and prepare material ahead of time while leveraging Nexus’ production and technology support, annotation tools, and podium access. Whether recording on-campus or at home, faculty can access numerous resources to record content in a way that fits their needs: 

To request access to a Nexus recording studio, click here

I used [a] Nexus studio to record my lecture videos in the summer. It was a fantastic experience. The facility, the production assistants, and the post-production support are all great. I can't speak high enough of my overall experience.

Jung Sun, PhD

Michael G. Parsons Collegiate Professor; Department Chair, Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering

Looking Ahead

If there’s one takeaway from the past year, it’s that the Michigan Engineering instructional community continues to learn, share, and adapt in an effort to put ourselves and our students in the best position to succeed. As we celebrate NDLW and look ahead to Winter 2021, here are a few steps faculty have found helpful to help guide their preparation: 

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