AOI | Learning Innovations

Distance Delivery


Early Results of Faculty Survey Regarding Socially-Distanced Learning

By William Hall, Department of Mathematics & Statistics
Stephanie Kane, Office of Institutional Research
Nathan Lindstedt, Office of Institutional Research
Jon Walter, Office of Institutional Research

Members of WSU Office of Institutional Research and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics surveyed a pool of voluntary faculty members on the transition to online teaching during social distancing. With this blog post, we want to share some of the preliminary results from the 37 respondents, showing what technology, apps, and services folks are finding useful as well as identifying some of the early hurdles faculty have faced.

When asked to share one thing that worked well in their courses, participants noted several means of engaging students with the content and the other students in the course. Faculty participants noted the following as working well:

  • Recording content for asynchronous delivery
  • Having students record presentations normally given in class
  • Students interacting asynchronously via forums (e.g. discussion forums, VoiceThreads)
  • Using Zoom to facilitate synchronous collaboration between students (e.g. breakout rooms, chat)

Participants also reported some specific tools and strategies they have found helpful. One participant noted using the program Leonardo along with Zoom’s screen sharing capabilities to present notes while another shared that the app Notability has worked well when paired with an iPad Pro and Apple pencil. Participants mentioned keeping up with students via social media (e.g. Instagram) and using the app Calendly for scheduling meeting times with students.

When asked to share one challenge they had faced, participants noted several equity issues including student and faculty access to reliable resources and the impact on student participation from the lack of face-to-face interaction. Faculty noted the following as challenges:

  • Students attendance and participation in labs and lectures
  • Reduced participation due to minimal face-to-face interaction
  • Students and faculty with personal challenges due to COVID-19
  • Internet reliability
  • Various issues with digital tools (e.g. Zoom, MyWSU, VoiceThread, etc.)
  • Increased workload due to moving courses online
  • Student accountability and academic integrity
  • Student access to reliable technology

It is clear that the immense constraints placed on educators in the era of socially-distanced learning, while challenging, have resulted in some amazing creativity and ingenuity. While many of us are struggling to meet our personal and professional goals, we can find some solace in sharing with our peers the resources and strategies that are working well and being open about challenges we are facing. It will take a village to finish this semester strong.

We hope this information helps you brainstorm some new ways of reaching students in these challenging times. Go Cougs!