Celebrating National Distance Learning Week, Pt. 2

November 13, 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.

Collaboration and Shared Learning

In addition to the preparation efforts highlighted in Pt. I of this blog series, faculty, staff, and academic units from across the College have come together to share knowledge and collaborate with one another throughout the pandemic. Here are just a few examples.

Symposium on Engineering Teaching & Learning

In May, Nexus, CAEN, and CRLT-Engin hosted a two-week virtual symposium designed to support faculty and provide resources in preparation for the unconventional Fall semester. The event featured 16 live panel discussions and workshops centered around online and hybrid teaching, including pedagogy, instructional design, and technology tools. In total, nearly 190 faculty and staff attended the event, which featured more than 25 different hosts and faculty panelists. Since the symposium concluded in May, its webinar recordings have served as an enduring resource for faculty throughout the Summer and Fall semesters, including: 

  • Quality Standards for Enhanced Remote Instruction & Introducing HyFlex for FA20
  • Leveraging Canvas Tools and Functionality
  • Building Your Online Learning Community
  • Inclusive Teaching in Remote Settings
  • Labs and Team-Based Courses for Remote Delivery
  • Alternative Assessment Strategies for Remote Instruction
  • Enhancing Support and the Student Experience for Remote Instruction
  • Remote Mentoring for Doctoral Student Success

The [Symposium] helped me gain perspective on what everyone else is trying so that I can consider strategies that are in line with the rest of the College's efforts.

Symposium Attendee

on aligning online strategies with CoE colleagues

Shared Learning

In addition to the College-wide events like the symposium, faculty and staff have stepped up to share best practices and learn from each other in a variety of other ways. Nexus continues to curate tools, strategies, and best practices for its Faculty Resources website, a central hub for online and hybrid teaching. Faculty and staff have delivered webinars and presentations for individual departments and events throughout the University. CRLT-Engin hosted communities of practice throughout the summer focused on design courses, first-year programs, lab courses, and lectures. The Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) published a Remote Learning Task Force report, offering norms and best practices for supporting remote learning, providing flexibility for faculty, and ensuring consistency for students. And this very blog has provided an ongoing forum for shared learning.

Looking Ahead

If the above examples are any indication, 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 NDLW concludes and we look ahead to Winter 2021, here are a few steps faculty have found helpful to help guide their preparation:

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