Arkansas State University - Newport

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April 2020

Faculty innovation outside the classroom

When Arkansas State University-Newport moved to online and remote instruction on Monday, March 16, 2020, we never imagined the creativity our faculty would cultivate to stay engaged with students. As an institution, we have always felt we had some of the best faculty in the state, but this pandemic confirmed our faculty will do whatever it takes to help students succeed and learn.

As the Spring 2020 semester wrapped up online, ASUN’s Academic Affairs Office saw an opportunity to highlight the amazing work of our faculty. A “Show Us What’s Working” virtual meeting allowed for all faculty, staff and administration to see what online techniques they are utilizing while working remotely.

Ten faculty members participated. Check out what they shared.

Chris Hicks, Director of Nursing: Once courses moved online, nursing students were no longer able to do clinical rotations at the many hospitals and facilities that ASUN partners with across the state. Hicks demoed how they are utilizing ATI software to provide simulations for students. The video software allows for students to see clinical examples of healthcare practices and problem solve as patients explain their symptoms. The faculty members received great feedback from students regarding the new clinical tool.

Megan Huffman, Instructor of Life Science: Huffman is utilizing her YouTube page to keep students engaged. Using Zoom, she holds live lectures that are recorded and shared on her YouTube page. She imbeds the videos into her Canvas course, ASUN’s online learning management software, to allow students to access videos easily. To keep her students engaged at home, Megan took her students on a virtual tour of her reptile room.

Huffman's YouTube page.
Huffman's YouTube page. 

Mark Hanan, Coordinator of IGNITE/Advanced Instructor of Computer Networking Technology: The use of computers at home is now at an all-time high as many people work and educate from home. Hanan is using Google Chrome Remote Desktop to help his students troubleshoot IT problems from home. He can watch students take exams and help students one-on-one by actually seeing what is on their desktops.

Hanan's remote desktop.
Hanan's remote desktop.

Karen Young, Assistant Professor of Mathematics: Like many, Young didn’t like her home setup. It just didn’t have what she needed to be successful, so she built what she needed. Using scrap boards and chalk paint, she built a chalkboard to work math problems for video lectures. Young also built her own document camera. Adding these at-home features transformed her Zoom and YouTube lectures.

Young's at-home setup.
Young's at-home setup. 

Stacey Mooneyhan, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Development: Many of Mooneyhan’s students visit elementary school classrooms to learn hands-on skills. When schools closed, that opportunity stopped. To keep students engaged, Mooneyhan created new intro slides for her online classes weekly. Those slides may be inspirational or a fun fact about herself. Since her students can’t get real classroom experience, Mooneyhan created a COVID-19 case study for her students. She wanted to be able to replicate observation time virtually. She’s also shifted classroom assignments. Students used to be tasked with designing a classroom lesson or event for their observation school. Now, ASUN students are planning events they would like to see at ASUN. Those plans will be shared with our Student Development Office in hopes of generating ideas for future activities.

Mooneyhan's welcome presentation.
Mooneyhan's welcome presentation.

Ken Beach, Associate Dean for Applied Science/Senior Instructor of Welding: Ken Beach admitted right away he had no idea how to take a hands-on program like welding online. He said he learned very quickly from his failures. His first attempt was to design the class like other online classes but soon realized his students didn’t want online classes. That’s why they chose our welding program. So instead, he started doing live lectures and treated each meeting like an in-person class. He recorded himself in his home welding lab, shared with his students, and asked students questions as he normally would. He also tapped into new educational resources to learn how other welding instructors are navigating online instruction.

Beach's at-home welding lab.
Beach's at-home lab. 

Irina Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Oral Communication and College & Life Skills: Public speaking is hard for many people, and it can be even more difficult when you must record it or share it virtually. Irina Reynolds new her oral communication students would need a change of pace to succeed. So instead of the normal presentation topics, she asked students to present what they are doing during the quarantine. Over video chat, students introduced their families, their children and showcased the ways they’ve adapted during the quarantine. Reynolds also shared virtual tour opportunities with her students so they could learn about other cultures and events while being at home.

Reynold's virtual tour suggestions.
Reynold's virtual tour suggestions.

Marlin Tice, Instructor of Energy Control Technology: Marlin Tice is an instructor for ASUN while also running his own business. To help his students learn outside the classroom, Tice started writing up all his business service calls. He created assignments out of each call so students could help troubleshoot real-world problems. He said this has engaged the students, and they’re collaborating to find the best methods to fix different equipment.

Betsy Walker, Assistant Professor of Science: Betsy Walker was proactive with COVID-19. As soon as she realized instruction may move online, Walker began recording videos to allow students to do individualized labs at home. She said she knew she would have to become the hands of her students to teach them virtually. She recorded virtual lab quizzes with a variety of results. She even did a video dissection. By utilizing playlists on YouTube, all her videos are easily accessible. For her students’ lab notebooks, she taught them how to convert them to PDFs with their cellphones.

Walker's YouTube page.
Walker's YouTube page. 

Lab simulation spreadsheet.
Lab simulation spreadsheet. 

Stephanie Wilson, Assistant Professor of Mathematics: Continuing the educational process has been important throughout COVID-19, but Stephanie Wilson recognized the need for an emotional connection. Wilson helped students organize virtual study groups. She also crafted individual email messages for each of her students to make sure each student is receiving the specific attention they need.

These are just a few of the amazing examples of innovation happening at ASU-Newport. Many of these faculty members never imagined they would be teaching through online forums, but they are living examples that learning and adapting never stops. They prioritize student success every day. No matter the obstacle, ASUN faculty continue to help students soar.