When colleges and universities across the country closed their campuses in the spring of 2020 and took classes online in the face of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, online education was suddenly in the spotlight.
USC Marshall’s move to online was seamless. With a team of specialists in technology enhanced pedagogy, instructional designers, and production professionals, USC Marshall’s Online Learning team has been producing top-ranked, award-winning online education since 2013, for students world-wide in several online degree programs.
Now, with the announcement that classes for the fall 2020 semester will be either online or a hybrid model of online and in-person, Marshall continues to be well-equipped to meet the challenge and exceed expectations.
“High-quality university-level learning can and does take place online. Online is simply a different delivery method, and Marshall has a robust team of professionals who have been doing this successfully for years.”—Patricia Mills, Vice Dean for Teaching and Innovation
“High-quality university-level learning can and does take place online,” said Patricia Mills, Marshall’s Vice Dean for Teaching and Innovation. “Online is simply a different delivery method, and Marshall has a robust team of professionals who have been doing this successfully for years.”
More than Zoom
“One needs to understand that simply holding a Zoom meeting does not create a successful online course,” said Mills. “An online course by its very nature is generally using the flipped classroom approach, which has many pedagogical benefits.”
An online course is designed to deliver the static content asynchronously—through recorded lectures or other interactive materials that students complete on their own time. Then students can meet synchronously with faculty and classmates via Zoom or similar platforms, to discuss and apply the concepts. Known as a “flipped classroom,” this produces a more valuable interaction with the instructor.
“Nobody wants to watch two hours of a professor lecturing behind his or her lectern,” said Jerry Whitfield, Marshall’s associate director of online media and technologies. “We approached it like radio and TV people. And we worked hand-in-hand with the instructional designers and the professors. Like a classroom lecture with a good outcome, a good, structured online course is just a different way to communicate the same message.”
“While initially online programs were developed to cater to working professionals by providing flexibility, what has become clear over time is that online education which is founded on sound pedagogy becomes effective education for everyone,” said Mills.
One secret to the success of online learning? “There is no hiding in the back of the class,” said Whitfield.