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Nexus Shares Remote Teaching Expertise at R2GB Symposium

Nexus Shares Remote Teaching Expertise at R2GB Symposium

With the Fall 2020 semester sure to be unlike any other, faculty across the University of Michigan (U-M) are preparing to teach in a variety of different formats, for students both on campus and afar. As part of U-M's Ready to Go Blue (R2GB) symposium, Nexus did its part to make that preparation a little bit easier.

On August 4th, Pat Hammett, PhD, Nexus' Director of Faculty Innovation, delivered a live webinar to members of the U-M instructional community focused on face-to-face/online hybrid courses, including best practices for teaching to a mix of in-person and remote students. The one-hour event was part of the U-M Teaching and Technology Collaborative's R2GB symposium, which aims to support faculty newer to online teaching and those eager to explore the possibilities offered by hybrid learning models. The ongoing symposium features dozens of virtual workshops offered by a wide range of colleges and service units at U-M. 

Dr. Hammett's session was particularly resonant considering his experience. As a lecturer in both the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) and Division of Integrative Systems + Design (ISD), he has taught online courses since 2003, including synchronous ("remote live"), asynchronous (self-paced online), and blended delivery modes. Perhaps most uniquely, Dr. Hammett has taught many "dual hybrid" courses, which include both in-person and distance learning students. His presentation seeks to answer the question, "how can we provide an equal learning experience for both groups?", offering tips for increasing engagement, organizing content for hybrid courses, recording lectures, and administering assessments. 

For example, Dr. Hammett provides recommendations for delivering live/in-person lectures in a way that keeps online learners in mind. This is critically important in dual hybrid courses, as some students may never be physically present and will only engage with the recorded content. 

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Having taught over 18,000 students in his career, Dr. Hammett continues to experiment with new approaches in an effort to make sure learners receive a Michigan quality learning experience, regardless of delivery format. In recent years, he has achieved near parity among dual hybrid course evaluations, with both in-person students and online students reporting an equally positive experience. Still, he recognizes there's no one-size-fit-all method. 

"I always like to add the caveat that this isn't the only way — there are other ways people have been successful as well," Dr. Hammett noted. "But these are things that I have found [successful] over the years."

The webinar represents one of the many ways Nexus is helping faculty prepare for online and hybrid courses this fall. In May, Nexus partnered with two other College of Engineering (CoE) units to deliver a two-week Symposium on Engineering Teaching and Learning, featuring 15 live panel discussions and workshops centered around hybrid and online teaching, including pedagogy, instructional design, and technology tools. 

Nexus is also offering one-on-one instructional consultations to all CoE faculty and Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) teaching Fall 2020 courses, in addition to providing recording studio access for faculty who want to pre-record lectures this summer. The unit's Faculty Resources website offers a one-stop-shop to help faculty prepare, including guidance on online and hybrid course setup, best practices for recording lectures, minimum quality standards, alternative assessment strategies, and tips for fostering student engagement.

To learn more about Nexus' faculty resources and services, visit our Faculty Resources website or contact