DSU plans to continue hybrid model after COVID
Written By: Kayla Henson | Aug 27th 2020 - 5pm. Dickinson Press
This is an abbreviated version- access the full article here.
Starting - but not ending - this semester at Dickinson State University, students will be able to access almost every class in person and virtually.
“The reason we had to make that possible is of course when people, either students or instructors, test positive for COVID or are otherwise asked to quarantine … they’re going to have to be able to attend classes remotely,” said Stephen Easton, president of Dickinson State. “What we’re hoping to do at Dickinson is basically stay in that … hybrid flex mode … so that we’re teaching in both those delivery methods simultaneously. We’re trying to turn that reality … into an opportunity … to get some interesting new students in the future.”
One-time federal funding through the CARES Act has enabled the university to install two cameras in every classroom and to hire distance learning specialists from Learning Corps to help the university’s professors be more effective at teaching online.
“I’m excited about what those remote students could bring in terms of life experience and a diversity of experiences to our students who are traditional students who are here face-to-face,” he said.
The dual teaching methods will be more work for faculty members, Easton knows, but he’s confident in their ability to make it work.
“At the end of the day, an effective teacher can be effective in more than one environment, and we have some pretty darn good teachers here, so I’m confident that they’re going to be able to be effective in both of these environments,” he said.
In the meantime, the team at Learning Corps is helping the staff strengthen their online teaching skills.
Liz Simpson, who has a doctorate in educational psychology, is also a managing partner of Learning Corps.
“What we do is mostly about helping people build the capacity to use the tools that they have available to them … The first thing we do is build an online class that covers best practices for teaching online and in a blended environment, and it covers all sorts of things such as how to do an instructional video and how to build relationships with your students, the ones that aren’t right in front of you.”
Simpson said their team is a responsive one.
“We come in and we respond to what the faculty’s needs are, and we bring all of our skill sets to help them build the best learning environment that they can using all the tools they have available,” she said.