Clemson Online aims to provide online learning support during pandemic
The role of Clemson Online is to provide instructional support for faculty, and that has never been more important than during the pandemic that forced the University to cease in-person classes.
“Before the COVID-19 outbreak, many just saw us as a resource for online courses and programs,” said Anne Marie Rogers, associate director of learning technology. “While one of our primary functions is assisting in the development and growth of online courses and programs, online learning remains our main focus.”
The number of Zoom users has increased 467 percent due to since moving online. With over 1,400 summers courses scheduled to be online, there were close to 200 instructors who participated in training or workshops provided by Clemson Online.
“Online learning is about the tools, technologies and strategies needed for achieving academic goals. I see this pandemic experience as an open door for growth in online learning and tapping into a new market of students to have an ‘online’ Clemson experience.”
Transitioning online in the middle of a semester isn’t an easy task for students and faculty. The support of Clemson Online allowed the University to put a step forward adjusting to online instruction.
“Two of the most important factors moving online were making sure instructors have support and technology access. By working together with the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation (OTEI) and CCIT, we provided assistance through training, support and technology access for the continuation of academic courses,” Rogers stated.
Clemson Online underwent a joint reorganization with OTEI in early February. Through the reorganization, it expanded more professional opportunities and increased support for faculty.
“By working with Clemson Online, you get the best of both worlds because you get assistance from people with knowledge of technology, education and pedagogy,” Rogers said. “With CCIT’s help, my team works nonstop to make sure our instructors and students have up-to-date information. We also help make sure the systems and tools meet the needs of the University.”
She added, “Online learning, instructional technology and teaching effectiveness go hand-in-hand, so it’s a natural progression for our departments to work together. We’re currently collaborating on several trainings and workshops for instructors to prepare for the summer and are planning offerings for fall instructors.” [can you insert the link to the training?]
Along with all the professors working hard to transition, Rogers credits the team members for the work they’ve put in since the transition; providing support and preparing workshops and professional development opportunities to aid instructors. Many of them have education backgrounds, which allows them to better understand the needs of faculty on-campus.
“Our job is providing faculty with support to build learning opportunities, including online program development and online course design. We can help with aspects including instructional design, technology training, accessibility services and video services,” Rogers said.
Clemson Online also helps support various academic continuity initiatives, including two online learning day exercises in August 2019 and February 2020 when all teaching was done online.
“Academic continuity is an integral part of making sure our students can continue with academic progress with minimal disruptions. The goal of the academic continuity committee is to minimize the amount of disruptions to student success in the event of an emergency such as the current pandemic,” Rogers said.
“We wanted to have some practice days to gauge our preparedness for moving to an online format and how successful we could be moving to an online/virtual format. The two online learning days gave us insight and hope that moving to a virtual/online mode was possible.”
Moving forward, Clemson Online continues growing as a valuable resource and providing more holistic opportunities for faculty and students. Working together with OTEI and CCIT, Rogers sees further avenues for growth in online learning.
Training sessions and workshops opportunities are available on the Clemson Online events calendar.