Fast track to quality and accessible remote courses during the COVID-19 crisis

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Brief Abstract

In Spring 2020 institutions across the world had to face the disruption of on-campus lessons and move to remote teaching. The presenters will discuss the strategies to move more than 4,000 courses to a remote teaching environment driven by one goal: quality and accessible education for all students.


Claudia Arcolin is Assistant Director of Online Learning at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She has been working in the field of education and instructional technology since 2003. She holds a doctorate in Cognitive and Education Sciences and a Master in Continuing Education and E-Learning. Her areas of interests include student-generated content, gamification, communities of learning, and informal learning environments.
Dr. Shelley Howell is currently interim Associate Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning Services at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She works with UTSA faculty on instructional strategies and course design and leads campus initiatives designed to enhance faculty success in teaching and learning. Dr. Howell has almost 30 years of experience working with students and faculty from a variety of academic disciplines and settings, in both the private and public sector. Her experience includes developing faculty training and orientation, redesigning courses and programs, facilitating faculty groups, and teaching college students at all levels. Dr. Howell earned an Associate of Arts from State Fair Community College in Missouri, a Bachelor of Science degree in training and development from Southern Illinois University, a Master of Education in adult education from University of Oklahoma, and a doctorate in higher education administration from Oklahoma State University. 

Extended Abstract

Quality online education, culture of equity, digital fluency, and attention to an increased and diversified student population, are essential goals that institutions have to achieve. The Office of Digital Learning at The University of Texas at San Antonio, part of the Academic Innovation division, embraces these goals in their mission. But what happens when these goals have to be reached in less than one week, during a pandemic with no precedent in the history of the institution? The presenters will share their story. Through a socratic dialogue, participants will explore different challenges and reflect on what digital transformation is and how to promote digital transformation at the institutional level during unprecedented times. Participants will explore initiatives, lessons learned and successful stories about:

- Build consensus and create cohorts of online teaching champions.

- Implement a course template based on quality standards for online education, and disseminate these standards and principles of good practices across campus.

- Promote digital fluency and become the first four-year public campus in Texas to be designated an Adobe Creative Campus.

- Adopt new technology and procedures to simplify communication and cooperation, value student feedback, and create an ecosystem in which all units/departments work together no longer as silos, but as reliable partners for student success.

- Implement a massive action to certify faculty in the Appling the Quality Matters standards.

- Lead a Digital Learning team to be an active partner for the university’s overall strategy to advance academic excellence.

Participants will have the opportunity to work in small groups and be engaged in an active dialogue based on the socratic method. The use of interactive tools such as Padlet for live interactive surveys and the Adobe Creative Cloud will make the presentation more dynamic.

Session Learning Outcomes:

- Understand skills and cultural switch to become an active partner for academic excellence in a time of crisis.

- Build resources to help faculty embrace quality standards for online education and promote the development of competitive skills for their students’ career.

- Analyze data and target the design process to initiatives for student retention and success.