KOKOMO, Ind. – When the spring semester resumes March 30 at Indiana University Kokomo, faculty and students will meet in a whole new way — off campus.
With social isolation measures in place because of concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), classes will be taught remotely through online tools such as Zoom, a video conferencing program, with the capability to record it for students to view later.
“The bottom line for all of them is, they want to make sure the students are OK,” said Julie Saam, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. “We want to make sure they are going to learn what they are supposed to, and they have the resources they need to be successful. The faculty are engaged in making sure they are supported.”
Since spring break began Friday, March 13, staff at IU Kokomo’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment (CTLA) have led virtual instructional sessions to help faculty transition from campus to virtual classroom. Saam, CTLA director, has been impressed by faculty dedication as they prepare for this change.
For Deb Jaworski, lecturer in mathematics, that means creating videos in advance to prepare for students who may have technical difficulties, need something repeated, or who aren’t available during regular class time because of new employment issues.
“A lot of my students were just laid off and may have to go find new jobs,” Jaworski said. “Even if they were able to make it to class before, their new job may not allow it. I’m trying to give them some options and I’m communicating with students, trying to make them feel comfortable.”
Jaworski said math faculty use Zoom for regular meetings, sharing ideas about how best to teach in this platform.
Saam noted that faculty have set up discussion boards where they post ideas and resources, to help each other succeed in this new learning environment.
“That’s the way we are at IU Kokomo,” she said. “We work together to solve problems, and faculty do that very well. They are pitching in and helping each other out.”
Even when classes resume, CTLA will provide ongoing support for faculty, said Chérie Dodd, senior instructional strategies specialist. Using Zoom, instructors may create a meeting, students receive a link, and they all join the meeting at the same time the class had been held previously.
“Faculty will teach the class the way they normally do and give the same information,” she said. “Students may turn on their microphones to ask questions, or use the chat box to ask.”
Saam added that having classes at the same time they were before allows students to get back to some of their prior routine. Going to class and communicating any concerns or difficulties will be key.
“Come to class, that’s how you learn, whether it’s in a synchronous class or watching it at another time,” she said. “If you have any difficulties, you should go into Canvas and touch base with your instructor. Keep your same schedule, and work through it the way you normally would.”
Having a routine also will be critical, along with being patient while remote classes get underway.
“We all need to be patient, this is new territory for all of us,” she said. “You should have a dedicated place in your home to do your work, and keep to your schedule. It’s going to take some discipline from everyone.”
Indiana University Kokomo celebrates 75 years as north central Indiana’s choice for higher education.