As the fall semester at Meredith approaches, faculty and staff are hard at work preparing both online and face-to-face options for learning.
“Faculty are eager to return to campus and see their students in person,” says Sarah Roth, Meredith’s Dean of Arts and Humanities. “But in circumstances when that's not possible, we know there are many ways to achieve those same goals, relying on innovative teaching methods and interactive technology like Zoom boards.”
Faculty and staff will be leveraging Zoom boards to instruct students both virtually and in the classroom at the same time, providing the familiar in-class interactions that are well known at Meredith.
And because of their experience last spring, faculty have gained an understanding of how to use technology to connect with students on a personal level, even when they are interacting remotely.
“Personal attention and connection are just as important in a virtual environment as they are in an actual physical classroom,” says Roth. And these goals are just as achievable, thanks to the technology we’ve invested in.”
Come fall, over 40 classrooms at Meredith will be equipped with Zoom boards - which are 55-72" monitors that double as smart boards. Other features that will enhance the hybrid learning experience include microphones that pick up audio in all parts of the classroom, as well as video cameras to help with the visual aspect of learning. This technology not only allows remote students to receive real-time instruction, it also allows them to interact and hold discussions with students who are in the classroom physically.
Professor of Education Julie Schrock believes that learn-from-home students will benefit greatly from this well-designed, engaging online instruction.
“Many Meredith faculty were already skilled online instructors and thanks to recent training, even more are trained now,” Schrock says. “Students will definitely benefit from the knowledge and skills that faculty developed through participation in the Professional Development Community (PDC).”
The PDC was a skill-share initiative developed collaboratively by Faculty Development and IDAT (Instructional Design and Academic Technology) to improve online learning efforts around campus.
Schrock says that faculty also overwhelmingly took advantage of the sessions offered by Meredith’s Tech Services team, learning how to best utilize technology such as Zoom and TechSmith Relay (now Knomia) to best meet students’ needs.
Also impressed by the faculty's commitment to make hybrid learning possible, Provost Matthew Poslusny says the solutions they’ve come up with were made possible by everyone having patience, flexibility, and maintaining a positive attitude.
“Faculty came [to campus] last week and the week before to test out the new technology,” Poslusny says. “Some were so impressed by it that they changed their mind from teaching an online course to teaching a hybrid course instead.”
Poslusny says that for them to change their course model completely speaks to the dedication the faculty have for providing the best experience possible for their students.
“When students come back in a few weeks, even though all their courses may not be face-to-face, they are going to be amazed at how much more interaction there will be with their faculty and fellow students.”
For updates on Meredith’s plans for the 2020-21 academic year, visit meredith.edu/staying-strong.