March 27, 2020

ITLS Offers Support In Covid-19 Crisis (Part 1)

dr colver on screen explaining
Dr. Mitchell Colver connects with ITLS students in an online classroom.

In all, 105 staff, students, and faculty members were assembled to help “flip” all face-to-face classes to run entirely on Canvas, the learning platform used by USU students and educators. Many ITLS students worked through the weekend to contact instructors, discover their specific needs, and brainstorm with them about options.

Regarding the increase in online classes, Legler said, “Since March 16, we’ve gone from 1,881 active courses on Canvas to 2,425. There are a lot of hands at work here, involving a lot of individual little challenges. People have managed it remarkably well.”

CIDI faculty and instructors were incredibly busy throughout the first week of online classes, supporting students and faculty through live chats, phone calls, and with web-based training materials. Legler said he wasn’t surprised at how well USU’s faculty worked together to make the transition, but the students who helped were an unexpected support.

“There’s a whole lot of experience and expertise among our faculty around eLearning and distance education,” said Legler. “What we didn't expect, what surprised us, were the ITLS volunteers. That was really cool. They came on board and were really helpful.”

Robert Wagner, vice president for Academic and Instructional Services at USU, said that he has been impressed with the response of the ITLS faculty, staff, alumni, and students, calling them an “integral part of USU’s move to remote instruction.” Wagner, who briefed USU’s president and provost regarding the ITLS efforts, added that he doesn’t know of any other institution that has accomplished what USU has with such a large support team.

“We have seen the world turn to, and depend on, those who know how to develop and deliver online learning,” said Bloxham. “They have become the heroes of the day!”

ITLS is housed within the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. For more information about the online learning resources available through CIDI, visit their website.