University programs aim to ease transition to online courses

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The abrupt switch to all online courses for Marshall University because of the COVID-19 is being eased by various programs created by the Online Learning department.  

“Online Learning has created an Online Ready site to provide information to faculty and students regarding the move to online platforms,” said Chris Sochor, the instructional designer. 

The website contains an Online Ready worksheet for faculty, information to direct students to tools and resources for using Blackboard, times and locations for in-person and virtual assistance and links to Information Technology sites, Sochor said.

“Students can log in to Blackboard now and click on the Tech Support tab to start viewing videos about how to use Blackboard tools,” he said. “There are also student help links on the Student Resources site that students should use to learn how to navigate through their courses.” 

Sochar said it is important that students use their Marshall email accounts to correspond with instructors regarding course matters and grades.

“Students should receive instructions and information about how their course will be conducted during the planned move to online from their instructors,” Sochor said. “If students contact the IT Service Desk or Online Learning and ask us how their instructors plan to continue their courses, we have no way of knowing that.”

For faculty, Online Learning has created a Blackboard Quick Start course. This course will be most useful for faculty members who do not use Blackboard currently, and have never really used Blackboard, Sochor said.

These courses will take place virtually or face to face in Drinko Library 138, 349 and 235 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until March 27, with the exception of the course in 349 taking place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to the Online Learning website. 

The website also has resources listed for professors to learn on their own.

There will be session in Old Main 109 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the South Charleston Library 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, for the upcoming couple weeks, according to the Online Learning website. 

“More seasoned users may not gain as much knowledge from this course, but we still encourage all faculty to self-enroll and work through the course. Instructions for self-enrolling in the course in our organization can be found on the Online Ready page,” Sochor said.

For more information on resources from Online Learning students or faculty can go to http://www.marshall.edu/design-center/online-ready/.

Ralph May can be contacted at [email protected]