Into Action: Transitioning faculty from teaching remotely to online learning

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Initially transitioning faculty to teaching remotely was a rush job.  The next step in the design process could not end with trainings only on the features of Zoom.  The door was open for a more structured and nuanced approach to instructional design and for us - it proved successful.


Reginald Jackson is currently at Northwestern University as Director of Teaching Excellence for the Medill School of Journalism Integrated Marketing Communications and Lead Learning Engineer in Teaching & Learning Technologies. He is also a lecturer in the School of Professional Studies IDS Program teaching courses in Instructional Design, Introduction to Learning Theory and Learning Environment Design. While completing his Masters degree in Instructional Design from Roosevelt University, he became a corporate trainer then instructional designer in the banking industry. He then transitioned to higher education as an Academic Technology Analyst at University of Chicago after completing his doctorate in Adult Education. He teaches part-time in Roosevelt University's Training & Development Program.
Dr. Reba-Anna Lee received her doctorate in Educational Technology in August 2006 from Alliant International University. She completed her Masters and Bachelors at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to joining Northwestern, she was the Associate Director of Academic Technology and eLearning at Marist College in New York. Her background includes K-12 experience, as well as over ten years of higher education administrative and teaching experience. Dr. Lee has experience working with faculty in implementing new technologies into the classroom, whether it is face to face, blended, or completely online.

Extended Abstract

When beginning this process, we framed it for faculty as training to move their classes to an online format quickly.  Many faculty found that online teaching was not something they wanted to do and wanted to be able to do what they did in the classroom online by asking "How do I still lecture but now on Zoom?"  With this being a mandated process for everyone, they had to get up to speed quickly. 
After the first day of training, we had to reframe our message from “teaching online” to “remote teaching” which easily removed some of the stress for faculty.  This small change allowed the faculty to hear our message and become more engaged in the process. 
The real fun came when classes began as faculty soon realized that trying to just lecture to students via Zoom was a daunting task for them and for students who had multiple classes online.  The consultations with faculty changed from about tech issues but inquiring  about finding nuanced ways to engage their students: recording lectures, using breakout rooms, active discussions, polling, and allowing students to work in groups outside of class.
Our session will discuss how our training with faculty evolved and some of the ways we continued to engage with faculty by hosting town halls on topics of interest to faculty: assessments and discussions. As we planned for the summer session, faculty were more interested in online teaching in a more inquisitive way.
We would open the discussion to participants to share ways in which they have handled this move to remote teaching and ways in which their school or departments met the challenge during this unprecedented time.

  • More personally, as instructional designer, how has this challenge invigorated their jobs? 
  • What are faculty who we thought would never be interested in teaching online saying now?
  • What are other messages that are being received now?