UIC Digital Humanities Initiative supports shift to e-learning
The UIC Digital Humanities Initiative, a collaboration between the Institute for the Humanities and the UIC Library, was established last year to expose faculty and students to research in digital humanities and new research methods in that field.
Since UIC classes were moved online in March due to COVID-19, the initiative shifted into gear to assist faculty and instructors with the transition from a physical classroom to the virtual classroom.
From assembling a robust collection of online resources for conducting lectures and seminars online to hosting live Q&A sessions via Zoom, the effort is led by experienced online instructor Hannah Huber, postdoctoral research associate in digital humanities at the institute and library, who notes that teaching online requires a great amount of front-end preparation.
“Plentiful time to prepare is crucial to instructors who are new to teaching online. In my experience, the time length for building an online course for the first time is at least a month prior to the start date,” Huber said.
To help UIC faculty and instructors plan, prepare and develop, she offers these suggestions and related resources for online teaching:
- Upon approaching teaching for a new session, think about how to best transition from an “emergency remote teaching” mindset. There is an option to schedule a one-on-one appointment with an ACCC instructional designer who can assist in utilizing UIC-provided online instructional platforms and tools.
ACCC’s technology basics for academic continuity
- From the beginning, establish a consistent daily and weekly schedule for the course and stick to it. The format for each category of assignment, activity, etc., should maintain uniformity throughout the semester. Key to consistency week-to-week is keeping a steady working schedule and ensuring that Blackboard modules clearly correspond with the course syllabus, calendar, class updates and assignment reminders.
Using a Modular Approach to Course Design
- To better engage students, become familiar with active learning and universal design for learning practices. A blog from Debbie Morrison, an online education researcher, provides a useful overview of active learning categories for online teaching.
Online Course Design for Active Learning within the UDL Framework
- Humanize the classroom through a focus on shared storytelling to enhance possibilities for social connection and to overcome the limitations of personalized interaction and non-verbal communication. When sharing your own experiences, be sure to model appropriate boundaries in ways that exemplify professionalism and leadership.
Social Presence and Interaction in the Online Classroom
- With an array of technologies at our disposal, be attentive to learning objectives, which should lead your selection of a tool rather than the other way around.
EDUCAUSE Review video: 8 Lessons Learned from Teaching Online
The Digital Humanities Initiative’s next scheduled online presentation and Q&A is May 27, from 1–3 p.m., when Huber will host “Preparing for Online Teaching: Live Q&A with the Digital Humanities Initiative.”
For additional resources on best practices to deliver virtual presentations online, visit the initiative’s website.