New beginnings

As happens with many bloggers, I gave it up for a long time. As also often happens, I have decided to give it another go. I make no promises, but have to admit I have been feeling like I would like to have a place to share things I’m working on, or interesting tidbits I come across. 

In the past, I have mainly written about teaching GIS. I will continue to do that, but I will be thinking and writing a lot more about digital teaching and learning, especially as it relates to teaching in online and blended modes. In March, I became the inaugural Academic Director of the newly created Arts & Science Online Learning Academy (OLA). The OLA was created by our Dean, Dr. Melanie Woodin, and I have been thrilled to see how supportive she is in building our online capacity, and that she recognizes the potential it has for improving the course experience for both instructors and students. I should note that “online” is used as a broad term that includes blended, hybrid, and flipped modes. There is a helpful document called Building a Taxonomy for Digital Learning available here that explains the various terms, and is the reason I’m using the term “digital teaching and learning” more.  

The first few months as OLA Director have been a bit intense, to say the least, but I am so grateful to be able to contribute in this way and have to admit I’m having a lot of fun. I work with an incredible group of people in the Dean’s Office who are all bright, talented, and remarkably good natured considering the workload and pressure! I have also been lucky to meet so many instructors, all of whom are really working hard to deliver high-quality online and dual-delivery courses under very difficult circumstances. There is a lot of work ahead as many of us try to deal with the current situation, but I am also excited about the opportunities that may arise as we consider what might be possible in a post-pandemic world of higher education. 

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