Following the transition of classes to online-remote format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial University through the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning has created a new program to assist instructors with the transition in preparation for the Winter 2021 semester.
The move comes after the university has offered only online instruction since March 2020, when the outbreak first began in Canada. The Winter 2020 semester saw many hurdles and the institution of a “Pass/Fail” option to assist both students and instructors with the sudden change. However, with the continuance of restrictions because of the pandemic in the Fall 2020 semester, most students returned to planned online-remote delivery of their courses.
This change cited problems for both students and instructors with the institution of different online program options, and the option for synchronous or asynchronous delivery of classes. There was a fast-learning curve for both parties as everyone tried to navigate the “new normal”. Instructors were responsible for working from home with limited access to on-campus resources, and in doing so were left to rely heavily on CITL for any technological assistance.
Students as well had to rely on these services. There is also cause for concern due to the access of internet resources within Central Newfoundland. All these factors added to the stress of an already difficult semester.
The new program introduces “Learning Technology Coaches”. These Coaches are graduate students currently enrolled at Memorial to assist instructors with both Brightspace and WebEx literacy, and to help explore the possibility of new programs to help engage students in online learning. It is the hope that the new program will help decrease the stressors from another online-remote semester.