Transitioning from Face-To-Face in Undergraduate Biology and Business Courses: What Works for Helping Non-traditional Students Construct Knowledge and Persist in Blended and Online Learning Environments

Concurrent Session 6
Blended HBCU

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Surprising barriers and successes have come with the transition from teaching non traditional students biology in face-to-face versus blended learning environments. Key to success was fostering a committed learning community where persistence and collaboration mattered  and  blending of hands on and online resources was strategic. Come see.


Dr. Jacobs has taught undergraduate Biology and Secondary Science Methods courses for over a decade. Her background includes research in plant science and science education for which she has contributed more than 30 scholarly publications. She currently chairs the Chicago State University distance education committee and guides faculty in transitioning from traditional face-to-face teaching to blended and online learning instruction.

Extended Abstract

Chicago State University (CSU), a Predominately Black Institution, is a small urban university that serves approximately 4000, mostly non-traditional students, many of whom work full- or part-time and commute to campus. CSU created the Office of Online Instruction and Instructional Technology (“The Office”) to support faculty teaching online, and identify challenges and opportunities faced as the university expands into distance education. We discuss challenges faced by The Office, as well as two instructors in Business and Biology who are transitioning from face-to-face to distance education. Examples of what did and did not work to support an active learning community will be provided. These include a) example course assignments and strategic blending of hands-on and online resources for a hybrid course, b) efforts to foster “grit” and a growth mindset among students, and c) a best online teaching practices rubric that is being developed to guide faculty. This information is adaptable to other, similar institutions and faculty seeking to foster a committed online learning community.