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The latest news in higher education and around ACUE
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April 23, 2020

Reaching out to Struggling Students, Virtually

Viviana Pezzullo, graduate teaching assistant and PhD candidate at Florida Atlantic University, relies on simplicity and human connection to reach her students during the transition to virtual instruction.

"My first instinct was to figure out how to maintain that same level of energy I have in that face-to-face class,” she says. "During the move to virtual learning, I tried to keep things as simple as possible, recognizing this transition was hard for them, too.”

Pezzullo, an ACUE-credentialed instructor, started with checking in with her students and asking them for feedback on how to adjust assignments in the most effective way.

“I decided to reach out to all my students in a survey to let me know by name how they are doing, where they are, if they have their own computer or if they have to share with a family member, if they are still working – practical questions like that,” Pezzullo explains. “I wanted to be able to personally reach out to my students who are struggling.”

Read about the experience and watch video insights from Viviana Pezzullo. 
This is part of ACUE's Resilient Faculty series through which we’re highlighting the extraordinary leadership of educators during this time of unprecedented change.

Read more and watch video
View more stories
The University of Texas System and ACUE Partner to Advance Student Success


The University of Texas System (UT System) and the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) have expanded their partnership to benefit hundreds of faculty members — and ultimately thousands of students — through quality teaching at all eight UT academic institutions.
 
“Through the ACUE course, the UT System and UT academic institutions are investing in the quality of our faculty, which will result in stronger teaching, deeper learning, and most importantly, improved student outcomes,” UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said.

The UT System Board of Regents approved funding for the ACUE program in December, following a successful pilot spearheaded by the UT System’s Faculty Advisory Council and Office of Academic Affairs. The expanded partnership also builds on the successful engagement with ACUE taking place at UT Arlington and UT El Paso.

Read press release
Effective Online Instruction: Webinar Recordings and Resources

While the spring semester is coming to a close, online learning is just getting started.

Through a collaboration with AASCU, ACE, APLU, CIC, NASH and OpenStax, we hosted a series of six webinars on Effective Online Instruction. Nearly 6,000 educators across more than 1,500 institutions and 64 countries participated in the webinars (more than 12,000 total registrations) to ensure our students continue learning.

Did you miss a topic of interest? No need for concern—you can still access webinar video and audio records, chat transcripts and related resources on the ACUE website. We welcome continued discussion in the ACUE Forums

Additional open educational resources to support effective online teaching are being offered in conjunction with OpenStax.

Webinar Recordings and Resources
Join the Discussion
Short Courses, Earn Micro-credentials
ACUE is committed to preparing faculty to teach effectively—in a traditional classroom and online.

Did you know our courses in effective teaching practices are available in open enrollment, micro-credential short courses? We're enrolling now for courses in effective classroom and online teaching. 

May 16: Creating an Inclusive and Supportive Learning Environment

June 20: Promoting Active Learning Online
Learn more and apply
Partner News
Bryant University: Bryant faculty reach ever higher for excellence in teaching (Bryant News)
AFT: College students, faculty, and staff reel from coronavirus shutdowns (AFT News)
Charles Koch Foundation: ACUE and OpenStax: Helping #ResilientFaculty help students learn everywhere (Charles Koch News)

News in Brief

The latest news and opinions in higher education.
How to Reconnect With Students and Strengthen Your Remote Course
Remote teaching can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable. As leaders at institutions that cater to students with learning differences, Manju Banerjee of Landmark College and Alexander Morris-Wood of Beacon College offer advice for charting unknown territory. Among other strategies, they suggest sharing your challenges as instructors, establishing an online presence, and thoroughly explaining processes and technology. (The Chronicle of Higher Education Teaching Newsletter)
7 Mental Health Resources to Help College Students During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, have found that many people experience psychological distress from repeated media exposure to the pandemic. Institutions are supporting students’ mental health through different measures. For example, mental health professionals at Nyack College are offering free telehealth counseling and webinars on coping. Here, Laura Ascione provides resources to promote wellness in students during the pandemic. (eCampus News)
Remotely Hands-On
Instructors who teach hands-on courses are finding unique ways of adapting to remote learning. Michael McGreal, for example, is creating videos for his ice-carving class and intends to use them going forward, so when courses do meet in-person, students will be better prepared to make their own sculptures. Meanwhile, Michelle Stocker, who teaches geobiology, has students look at specimens over Zoom and virtually share and discuss bones they find on walks outside. (Inside Higher Ed)
Reimagining Higher Education Post-Coronavirus
Now is the time to reimagine higher education, according to Steven Mintz. The COVID-19 crisis has created challenges, he writes, but it also offers opportunities to become more equitable, accessible, affordable, outcomes-focused, flexible, resilient, and sustainable. Some strategies he recommends include responding to changing demands, such as addressing the needs of working students and family caregivers, and improving the quality of online learning. (Higher Ed Gamma)
How University Faculty Embraced the Remote Learning Shift
Now that online learning has become “mission-critical,” faculty across campuses are rising to the challenge, as evidenced by this Twitter roundup of instructor insights. Viji Sathy, for example, opines, “There’s something so hopeful about continuing to teach and learn when everything else feels like it’s coming to a screeching halt,” while Jonathan Moore writes, “I wonder what the students thought about my funky garage?” (EdTech Magazine)
5 Low-Tech, Time-Saving Ways to Teach Online During Covid-19
Flower Darby offers five asynchronous techniques to make remote teaching easier and more interesting for instructors and students alike. They include posting static content for students to read and watch, using quiz and assignment functions in your school’s LMS, creating engaging online discussion prompts, establishing a reliable weekly schedule, and making frequent, visible appearances online. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Photo of the week

There are many things for which I am grateful amid the upheaval of the pandemic: resilient students, compassionate faculty and staff, Zoom, and also ACUE.The need for the Course in Effective Teaching Practices is as compelling as ever, not to mention ACUE’s rapid development of its online teaching toolkit as we take this unanticipated deep dive into remote everything. There’s another ACUE product I’m grateful for: the little bottle of hand sanitizer I got as swag at a conference two years ago! I don’t normally buy hand sanitizer or have it in my house. But when the pandemic hit, and there was none to be had (still isn’t), I dug out my ACUE bottle. It’s probably a stretch to say that ACUE saves lives. But ACUE does keep us engaged, student-centric, equity-minded, more agile lifelong learners, and—in this moment—cleaner and healthier. Thank you, ACUE!

Rebecca Karoff, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Texas System and proud administrator of the UT System’s ACUE partnership

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