March 19, 2020
This week Emmanuel temporarily shifted to all-online teaching in response to the COVID-19 situation.
The decision was announced on Saturday and was effective immediately. Under the leadership of the Open Learning team, the College took the necessary steps to make this change without cancelling any classes. On Monday, scheduled classes proceed as usual, only through an online medium.
Emmanuel was in a position to make this rapid change due to its existing online-teaching capabilities. Since January 2019 the school has offered some courses through Live Online, which allows students to participate remotely in a regular on-campus class through two-way internet streaming. A live video and audio feed from the classroom casts to the student’s computer screen, and a live video and audio feed from the student’s computer casts to a large screen in the classroom. Multimedia content such as slideshow presentations or videos are also visible on Live Online students’ screens.
So, under more usual circumstances, with the College offering in-person teaching, the professor for a course offered through Live Online might give a lecture in a classroom full of students with a few Live Online students visible and audible on a screen on the wall.
Now, with the decision to move temporarily to all-online teaching, professors are not lecturing to some in-person students and some online students. Instead, all students are participating through online streaming.
Another large change has been the location from which the professor teaches. So far, some professors have taught from the classroom, using it like a TV studio broadcasting a live program, but others have taught the class from other locations. The College is currently working toward having all classes taught from outside the classroom.
The transition to all-online teaching has been smooth so far. Before this week, Professor Rich Kopanke had never taught a course offered through Live Online before, and with the help of the Open Learning staff, led by David Nickerson, he was successful in leading his class. He later expressed that he was pleased with the teaching experience.
Dr. Hughson Ong, the assistant academic dean & registrar, has also taught this week and has stated that he believes the school is “fortunate . . . to have the technology to run our classes in an alternate mode.”
The speed of this shift has preserved students’ academic experience as the College has responded to the COVID-19 situation. Students will continue with courses as usual, only through a web-based means, and will finish the semester at the regular time. Therefore, those expecting to graduate this year can still plan to do so, and those with arrangements for the weeks and months following the semester can keep the arrangements in place if they so choose.
The featured image shows Dr. Hughson Ong teaching from his office on Thursday, March 19, 2020.