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Dean Frasciello Shares What It Takes for Students to Be Successful Online Learners
University College Dean Mike Frasciello has been at the forefront of online instruction for much of his University career—leading, teaching, developing and researching online programs.
In this unprecedented time, he and collaborators across the University have been working to ensure that thousands of students and faculty members can make that transition to online learning mid-semester.
Frasciello, who has launched online programs at University College, created the University’s Center for Online and Digital Learning and served as director of online learning for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, knows what success with online learning looks like for students.
Keep a schedule.
“When we look at characteristics of a successful learner, it’s a student who has a high degree of discipline and will carefully plot their time,” Frasciello says.
He recommends students rise for the day as they did in their residence hall or off-campus housing, schedule in their class and study times, and plan for all the extras they would have done throughout their day while on campus.
“Work out like you would have on campus and meet with friends online like you would have at Starbucks—adhering to a schedule that makes your coursework part of your routine is vitally important,” Frasciello says.
Reach out to your instructor.
“Ask questions during class. After a live session, send your professor an email, in which you might summarize key points or ask a question or for clarification,” he says.
Interact with your classmates.
“Student-to-student engagement is critical, creating a sense of community and becoming an active online participant,” Frasciello says. “Start chatting with a classmate during a session or set up a space in a Google Hangout.”
Frasciello also answers other questions that students might have as the University has transitioned and shares a variety of resources for students.
Q: What is the University doing to support students and faculty in making this transition to online learning?
A: Student and faculty support has been our priority. The Center for Online and Digital Learning, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Information Technology Services and the Office of Online Student Success (OSS) created a dedicated Academic Continuity website and began directing students and faculty to online resources, training schedules and contact information for support services.
Specifically, for students, OSS began engaging with and training academic advisors within the schools and colleges on how to support online students. The focus was on how to best use the tools and technology to engage and advise online students, but the training also included techniques for keeping online students moving successfully through their coursework.
Twice each week, ITS and OSS send all students updates, technology training schedules, prompts, tips, techniques and resources for how to be successful online learners.
For faculty, CODL, CTLE and ITS created a Rapid Online Course Development Guide. The guide, which is updated weekly, provides guidance, tools and techniques for moving classes online and engaging students online to meet course learning objectives. The Rapid Online Course Development Guide is part of a larger toolkit of Academic Continuity Resources being expanded daily.
Additionally, the Office of Online Student Success coordinated with the Office of Retention and Student Success within the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience, the Office of Disability Services, the Center for International Student Services and academic advising offices within the schools and colleges to ensure that student support and services are available in the event of instruction moving online.
Q: What are the plans for taking final exams?
A: Faculty have complete control of the curriculum and make all decisions relating to how students are assessed in their courses. As part of their resources and training, faculty have been provided options for implementing quizzes and exams in the online environment. Guidance for this is available through the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, ITS and the Center for Online and Digital Learning.
Q: What if a student’s internet connection is poor for participating in online classes? What if they don’t have broadband?
A: For students with no or poor internet access, ITS has curated a list of internet service providers with specific responses to COVID-19. This is a common concern and the largest point of anxiety for our students.
Students are encouraged, whenever possible, to find a quiet space to study that is near a wireless router. Using a headset can help minimize noise distractions from others in the household. If network issues occur, regular communication with faculty is key so students can work to get caught up on anything missed due to broadband issues.
Q: How can students who might be struggling academically in this transition receive support from the University?
A: We encourage students to reach out to their academic advisor or other support person with whom they are comfortable to discuss their progress in the online environment. For support in successfully navigating the online learning environment, students should contact the Office of Online Student Success at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315.443.3256.
Other academic services such as the Center for Learning and Student Success, the Writing Center, the Calculus Help Center and the Physics Help Center have moved their services online to best serve students.
For technology-specific issues, the ITS Service Center is available, including evenings and weekends, to assist students, faculty and staff at email@example.com or 315.443.2677.