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April 9, 2020

Broward College Professors Get Creative with Biology Online

Classroom instruction is challenging enough to transition to remote learning. But how can you recreate a virtual science lab?
That’s the concern that first came to mind for Idelisa Ayala, an associate professor at Broward College, when she first learned her college would transfer to a virtual learning environment in light of concerns over COVID-19.
“If I can be honest, my first instinct was complete panic,” Ayala explains. “I wasn’t worried about my lectures since I already use online components. My main concern was how we would handle our labs.”
She wasn’t alone.
Ayala, along with colleagues in Broward’s biological sciences department, including Vanessa Hormann and Lisa Burgess, assistant professors of biological sciences, got to work. 
Read about the experience and watch video insights from Ayala, Hormann and Burgess. This is part of ACUE's Resilient Faculty series, through which we’re highlighting the extraordinary leadership of educators from every region in the country during this time of unprecedented change.
Read more and watch video
Effective Online Teaching Practices
ACUE is committed to preparing faculty to effectively teach—whether that's in a physical classroom or online.

Last year, ACUE began work on Effective Online Teaching Practices. Based on all the same research and evidence-based techniques as our core course in effective instruction, but with techniques and examples for faculty specific to online teaching, this program is available in full course and shorter, micro-credential delivery options for institutional partners, and also in open enrollment, micro-credential courses for individual faculty.

Never did we think that this program would have the urgency it does today, and ACUE feels a greater than ever sense of responsibility to help colleges, universities and faculty prepare for the fall and beyond.
Learn about Effective Online Teaching Practices
Learn about Open Enrollment Course Options
Active Minds and ACUE Release Recommendations to Guide Faculty

Student mental health is a growing issue at colleges and universities. Now more than ever before, there is a pressing need to provide faculty with the tools and resources to support student wellbeing. While most are not clinicians, faculty can play an essential role as helpers, supporting students through practical approaches.

ACUE and Active Minds, the nation’s premier nonprofit organization supporting mental health promotion and education for young adults, have partnered to release Creating a Culture of Caring: Practical Approaches for College and University Faculty to Support Student Wellbeing and Mental Health.

The report highlights four main recommendations to complement institutional resources and guide faculty.

Read more and download report
Free Webinar Series: Effective Online Instruction 
Join nationally recognized experts in online teaching and learning for a series of virtual discussions on best practices in online teaching to ensure quality online instruction for student success.

Thank you to our expert presenters: Flower Darby, Kevin Gannon, Ludwika Goodson, Catherine Haras, Kevin Kelly, April Mondy, Viji Sathy, Alyson Snowe, and Michael Wesch.

Webinar topics, dates, and times: 
Webinar Registration and Details
Online Teaching Toolkit

News in Brief

The latest news and opinions in higher education.
How to Help Struggling Students Succeed Online
Preventing struggling students from falling through the cracks becomes particularly challenging in an online environment. Online learning experts Melody Buckner and Alexandra M. Pickett offer suggestions, such as reaching out to all students early and often and providing different options for participating in discussions and completing assignments. (The Chronicle of Higher Education Teaching Newsletter)
What Students Want Colleges to Know About COVID-19 Shutdowns
In this discussion, students share their thoughts about the kinds of teaching that work best in an online environment. Suggestions include taking time zones into account, using flipped classrooms, and cold-calling to keep discussions going. (EdSurge)
Moving Classes Online Is Hard. Online Discussion Can Help.
“Teaching online requires an intentional, thoughtful approach to instructional design, especially at a time when students are being asked to transition at an unprecedented pace,” Kathleen S. Ives writes. She opines that making the most of online discussion can help improve student outcomes, offering ideas such as setting simple and consistent expectations about students’ responsibilities and promoting student autonomy in these forums. (Inside Higher Ed)
10 Tips to Support Students in a Stressful Shift to Online Learning
Research shows that relationships with faculty play a key role in student retention. In order to keep them engaged during the shift to online learning, members of the higher education community offer suggestions for supporting them. Jody Greene of University of California at Santa Cruz recommends giving students some control over their learning, for example, while Active Minds’ Laura Lorne urges faculty to share their own stories about the changing reality. (The Chronicle of Higher Education - paywall)
Rethinking Your Assignments for Online Learning
According to Steven Mintz, administering the right types of assignments in an online learning setting can engage students and boost learning. He suggests using low-stakes surveys, polls, and quizzes; asking students to find and evaluate resources relevant to the course; and creating a “research methods scavenger hunt,” among other ideas. (Higher Ed Gamma)
Teaching and Learning After COVID-19
Joshua Kim shares predictions about teaching and learning in a post-COVID-19 world. For example, he believes that there will be a greater understanding of how digital tools can serve as complements to, rather than substitutes for, face-to-face learning and that blended learning models will dramatically increase. He also foresees online education being recognized as core to institutional plans for resilience and academic continuity. (Learning Innovation)
Remote Learning: Peer Resources for Higher Education
Excelsior College president, James Baldwin, and provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, John Caron, offer peer resources for best practices during the COVID-19 crisis, based on their experience at a distance learning institution. Their advice includes reaching out directly to students who are not participating, sharing personal stories of overcoming obstacles, and more, along with showing empathy. (The EvoLLLution)
Community Colleges Get Creative to Survive Spring, While Prepping for a Surge Next Fall
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the shift to online learning has been challenging for students unable to access the internet, so community colleges are devising solutions for keeping students engaged. For example, Montgomery College has donated hundreds of laptops to students and faculty. Many institutions are also helping fulfill students’ basic needs in other ways, such as fundraising to provide emergency aid to students. (The Washington Post)
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