Onboarding Hybrid Learning Technology at University of Kentucky

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dr. Kathi Kern, Associate Provost of Teaching, Learning, and Academic Innovation, and Kathy Hamperian, Executive Director of Customer Support and Student IT Enablement at University of Kentucky, joined the podcast to talk about the massive and ambitious investment they made in hybrid learning technology in preparation for this fall.

We talk all the time about the digital natives, yet these students need a lot of support and learning how to make these technologies work. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university, proud member of the connect ETU podcast network. I'm Eric Olston with Helix Education and we're here today with Dr Cathy Kern, associate provost of teaching, learning and academic innovation, and Cathy and Perion, executive director of customer support and Student It enablement at University of Kentucky. Dr Kerr and Cathy, welcome to the show. Thanks so much. Thank you. So excited to talk with you both today about the investment in highbrid learning technology you made this year in preparation for fall. Before we dig in, can you give the listeners a little bit better understanding of both University of Kentucky and your roles? They're beginning with Dr Kern. Sure well. Thanks, so much Eric for having us. We are a large public land grant university with around thirty onezero students in located in Lexington, Kentucky, and we began a planning process from the moment we went remote in March twenty three, I think it was, of two thousand and twenty. We started a planning process that would enable all possibilities for the fall, including a residential experience, knowing that many of our students wanted that, as well as online and hybrid. So my role has been to lead the instructional mission, to shepherd that to I'm a history professor by training, and so over the course of the spring and summer we worked with a lot of innovative, diligent faculty to get the full courses ready to roll.

And, Cathy, help us understand your role as well. I am within the Information Technology Service of Sector at the University Kentucky, of Dr Kerr has already pointed out, we're a large, large institution and the technicopy is important as a support for our instructional mession. Cathy, to prepare for your hybrid fall, you upgraded the technology and approximately ninety percent of your classrooms. Talk a little bit about that very, very ambitious process. We got a request in early May, in fact may first, to what would it take to put a live streaming flash recording device in as may classrooms as possible. At the time we've been using ECO three hundred and sixty four about ten years. At a time we had about a hundred sixty four are classrooms that had echo three hundred and sixty in it. So we proposed adding more echo classrooms than adding more classrooms with panoramic cameras to use zoom teams, that kind of collaborative software to help with the transition into a dual modality teaching. It was very aggressive. We place the first order on May the sixth with the rest of the country, and so some of the things are a little harder to get. So we had completed our we had completed our installations in all of our classrooms by July thirty one. Wow, it's incredibly impressive. Dr Kern, one of the biggest critiques of Hybrid Courses Is the concern that our remote students will feel left out of the primary classroom discussion. How does your text Sol attempt to help solve for this? Well, as you know, technology is a great enabler of connection. It's not full proof. We still have challenges, but I guess first of all we would point to the meteor rise...

...of zoom, something that, you know, in March of this year we had a limited number of licenses. We had a university wide license, not that many people had taken advantage of it. Now we have thirty nine thousand licenses. So you know, that is really that kind of video conferencinging. You know, as well as Google hang out in skypes and teams. People have, I think, gotten increasingly comfortable with connecting that way. It also allows us, of course, a chat feature. As a teacher, I think I've also been able to exploit the possibilities of keeping my students engaged using the Google suite. So I use a lot of Google forms to take the temperature of the class, not literally, I realize in Covid that sounds like that could temperature, but rather to to ask them what they think about something using a using some kind of pulling device, whether that's Google forms or meant to meter or pull everywhere. I also use the Google docs to get students brainstorming ideas, whether they're remote or in the classroom, and that's been very interesting to watch them populated document and I've always used Google slides and continue to use those for collaborative work. So I think that we've all gotten better at the tools that are available. But it's still poses challenges that you know that students, you know, don't feel comfortable, for whatever reason, turning on their cameras. That that students can disengage and we don't know it as easily. If somebody is, you know, sitting in your class with earbuds in and and texting, you can sort of see that and witness that behavior and realize like, okay, I am not engaging this student. But the technology at least allows us to make these efforts to produce a really connected the class. From experience, so much new technology so quickly Dr Current. What have the faculty and Students Training and tech on boardings looked like for all this new...

...technology? Well, I think that, starting with the faculty, it's been very intense and when we went remote on March thirteen, we began offering day long drop in office hours via zoom for our faculty and initially we did those nine to five, but then we also did them in the evenings and on the weekends because we realize that lots of faculty members are probably going to be preparing Monday's class on, you know, Saturday afternoon. So we need to be available to people in those zoom drop in sessions. I would say that, you know, ninety percent of the help that people were seeking was like how to do something, how to make the technology enable them to meet this learning objective for the course. So, you know, we hope that we would get to talk more about pedagogy and strategy with the faculty, but at least in the first few months, virtually everyone who came was saying how do you do this? How do you make this work? So that was that was really important and as well as ongoing workshops. And then we did two big weeks of teaching with our with our faculty. One of them was in May and one was in July, and we had over a thousand participants and that was like a week long. So posea where where folks could could work on redesigning their courses for the summer or the fall. In terms of students, this is a really interesting issue because we talk all the time about the digital natives, yet these students need a lot of support and learning how to make these technologies work. You know, they haven't necessarily used a learning management system in high schools. So we have done some introductions to canvas over the summer, but we have also recognized that as faculty we have to spend time teaching the tools and helping the students unpack that technological landscape that is college education today. Cathy, how future forward were you trying to be in these tech...

...investments? For example, were you primarily focused on this kind of two moonth window, making sure you had what you needed to launch this hybrid fall successfully, or were you also trying to think about what your classroom needs might be five years from now? Eric, very good question. Obviously we were. We were thinking about how do we deliver the technology for the faculty and students in the false semester. But you know, as you know, technology changes with the breeze. So we've been using I go three hundred and sixty for ten years. That have served US really well until the panoramic cameras, whether it's zoom or teams like Dr Kern mentioned, or any other tool that comes along. We tried to select sort of device or software agnostic hardware that would would allow us to use it with whatever new technology came along. I also want to point out that Cathy's team supplied personal wi fi spots, my figs, to students and the faculty and we weren't sure when we began meeting in emergency operations. We weren't sure how many people might need something like that. But but that was really interesting for us to see that the demands for better internet once we went remote absolutely and we started a program last fall that every new, first time freshman receives an IPAD that that they can keep through their career at the inverse of Kentucky and this was a second year to do that. But it's that, as Dr Kern mentioned, when we went after spring break in the in the spring at when we went to remote. We're in Kentucky, the the Internet capabilities aren't great. You know, we don't want to send people to parking lots to do their homework or to take their class so an investment was made in the my fis, the hot spots that people could borrow to use for their class work. We also try to have some some equipment for faculty or instructors who might need that as well to borrow that...

...as the as the time went along. I wanted to also add to what Dr Kern said. The partnership that that we have with Dr Kern's organization is incredible. I don't think we could do our job without getting their input. I mean they had their fingers on the pulse of the faculty and what they need in the students and what they need because they're very active and they actually created and support a wonderful website, teach anywhere, dot U Kiddu, which is just jam pack full of wonderful information for a faculty or anyone who's interested that wants to go look at it. But her staff has just been, you know, they've been really the the cornerstone to making the successful. That's so generous of you, Cathy. Thank you and I can't believe I didn't think to mention the teaching your website and the learn anywhere website that we created with the help of our marketing unit. Those are great resources and we found that, you know, thousands of thousands of people from around the country have used that teach anywhere website and one of my favorite things on the learn anywhere website is we had students who were tutors. This summer make a series of life hack videos, and so they're showing in these videos the kind of technology tools that they use for time management and to keep on top of their studies, and they're really priceless resources. In fact, I thought, God, if I had been as organized as as these young people. Yeah, so the learn anywhere, they learn anywhere. That UK out of you too is just wonderful for our student but you know, if you get a chance, if your listeners get a chance to go take a look at what was created there, like Dr Kurn said, with first half in our wonderful marketing department here at the university. Yeah, wonderful. And, Dr Kern, what's next on the list in terms of what you've seen is a new need that you might not have seen five months ago, or even broader than that.

What you're excited to eventually get to add your tech Arsenal moving forward? Well, that you know, that's a good question. I think that part of what we need to do is faculty, is to kind of continue to get up to speed with some of the great tools that are out there, and so for me, something exciting this semester has been using jam board and that's part of the Google suite and it's an interactive whiteboard and you know, faculty can use it to teach, but I use it for team base learning and and have my students learned to do visual analysis and I preload the jam board with political cartoons. So we just did a an example of the variest the visual culture of the early twenty century when women were trying to get the right to vote and there were many political cartoons in opposition to that and caricatures of what would happen to the American family of women voted and children would be neglected. And so the students would see this cartoon, this image from the early twenty century, and then they would use jamboard to draw on it and to show the points of ephesis and sticky notes to make comments about the analysis, and so it was really great for me as a teacher to see their learning kind of demonstrated through this technology. So I'm I'm really interested in what kind of tools are going to allow us to unveil learning more and to be engaged with our students learning. So I'm always I've always got an eye out for that, like what's going to help me be a better professor, and then I think the other issue that you made me think about, Eric, with this question is what's the future of proctoring? You know, that's again something that, you know, we had a little interest in online proctoring before the remote teaching and then suddenly a huge demand for online proctoring. And so how do you do that? How do you do that in a way that respects students privacy concerns? How do you do that in a way that doesn't cost...

...your students yet another fee to complete their coursework? So, you know, we've been looking at different ways of doing that, but we've also been seeing some some faculty decide, like you know what, I'm coming up with alternative assessments, because proctoring online proctoring and lockdown browsers and and Webcams on my students and then having to upload various kinds of you know, credentials and assignments is to anxiety producing for these students. You know, they're already they're living through pandemic, they're living through over such a do we really need to to put them through this just to just to meet the goals of the course? So I think we're going to see a really interesting discussion with a lot of you know, corporate entities, you know, refining their product and and trying to continue to have strong relationships with universities, but I think also some pushback both from faculty and students. Well, for those listening right now, we just recorded a wonderful episode on the future of online proctoring. If you scroll up one episode in your feed you'll probably find it, but it's not live yet, but I gave you re advertise. Thank you. Thank you, Dr Karn wonderful, wonderful stuff and we're so excited about what you've been building and we're going to continue to look to you because you've proven again and again how quickly and and with a high quality you guys are able to adapt. Finally, any next steps? Advice for institutions who are listening in there looking to provide the best hybrid learning experience possible. Where should they start next? Starting with Cathy. There's so many different considerations and you know, from a technical perspective that's the easy part, to be honest with you, that you know find in the right hardware to use. But I think establishing the relationship that we have with Dr Kern's organization to understand what the faculty and students are needing. That was pivotal. You know, I think if we hadn't already had...

...that relationship ship, this would have not gone as well as it did. So I think being partners and providing the support that they needed, that's just, you know, that's taught us a very valuable lesson and and information technology that we are support to the institution. And again, that relationship with Dr Currn's group has just been invaluable in the success and Dr Kurrent I would agree with that. I think we love to partner with our our colleagues in it and I think if you have the if you're if your focus is on, you know, how do we help our students make it through this pandemic and create the richest possible learning environment for them, then any kind of you know, they're always sort of territorial issues on a campus, like who's going to own this particular contract or who's going to represent us with this vendor? Where should this unit, you know, be housed? They're always those kinds of decisions, but they all kind of fall into the background when you're thinking about, you know, the future of higher education and the survival of our of our institutions during this this really cataclysmic time that we're living through. So I think if we keep the focus on our students and supporting them and our faculty and supporting them, that that, you know, that's really everything else should should pale in comparison. I think you know, recognizing, I think the campuses will need to continue to recognize, you know, that we are all learning right. Teachers are seriously having to learn how to teach all over again in new settings. And it doesn't mean that your values, your pedagogical values, change, it doesn't, but it might mean that the way you achieve those has to change, and that's I think. You know, it's a learning curve for everybody and to think it's really important to for campuses not to not to go about casting blame. The faculty are working their butts off.

I have never seen as much effort on the part of the faculty to do high quality teaching in thirty years and higher education and the student support services are working so hard to support the the mental and physical well being of our students and the other support services like Auntie or working so hard. So I think it's really important to to really support each other with a lot of grace and compassion, because nobody's ever been through this before. And I'll just add on to to Dr Current statements. I mean we have an incredible team at the top our institution, with our president, our provost and our Executive Vice President for finance administration, that really put students first and I think that's the message and our goals are to make sure that we serve our students and again, like, like Dr Current said, it's just been incredible effort across all across campus. Thank you both so much for your time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you if they have any follow up questions? Starting with Dr Kern, my email is kern. My last name Kai are in at Uky Dot Edu. And Cathy, my email address is cathy dot ham Periam h am peer I a AM at UK why Dodd, you awesome. Thanks against you both so much for joining us today. Thanks for having US are. Thank you so much, erreich. We appreciate it. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations. Data driven enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges. Downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Playbook.

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