Page 10 - 2020 OIT Progress Report
P. 10

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “we learn geology the morning after the earthquake.” Throughout the last year, our faculty have successfully navigated unprecedented challenges, change, and uncertainty while finding a way
to remain connected with students. In parallel, SMU’s academic service teams have continued transforming and adapting services to provide faculty with the necessary support, training and resources to keep teaching. While the last year has spawned many hardships—and “earthquakes”— OIT has demonstrated the ability to anticipate technology and teaching needs, remain resilient in times of change, and provide and scale help as faculty require.
Fall 2019 began smoothly, with OIT working with each school’s leadership to make annual incremental improvements in digital teaching, research, and technology capabilities. Academic Technology Service Directors (ATSDs) led pilot initiatives exploring new in-person attendance automation technologies, new augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) teaching tools, as well
as new Canvas-based accessibility systems. The Academic Technology Council sponsored the replacement of SMU’s antiquated course video delivery system with a powerful new cloud platform named Panopto to make the creation and
sharing of online course videos easier than ever before. And finally, we completed the formation of the new Online Production Services (OPS) team, who provide digital instructional design and media support services to faculty and departments across campus.
As tremors from world events began to increase leading up to March of 2020, OIT’s various academic support offices began planning for
any instructional contingency scenario with a single mission—preserve the continuity of high- quality instruction. Leadership from Academic Technology Services, the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), and SMU Libraries joined forces to more efficiently and effectively communicate with and provide support for faculty. Preventing an academic continuity crisis required swift
and immediate action by the entire university community working together. The result was three intensive weeks of technology and remote teaching workshops, helping faculty move from basic to exceptional remote instruction for spring and early summer terms.
In early summer, OIT’s academic support
teams and their partners focused all efforts on
two distinct modalities for the Fall 2020 term, including fully online courses and SMUFlex, a new teaching modality allowing for students to engage

   8   9   10   11   12