Three fifths of respondents spent a week or more developing just one course in Blackboard. Microsoft tools were the most leveraged by all respondents (75%), followed by Bb Collaborate and Bb Ultra. About half of respondents indicated they made use of Google Apps, Webex (Meetings), and Panopto. As illustrated in Figure 1, there were deviations in use patterns, depending on PIVOT participation, particularly related to used to support learner engagement tools, such as Google Apps, Panopto, and, in particular, VoiceThread.
Figure 1: Percent Tool Use, by PIVOT Training Participation
Nearly all respondents (97%) indicated they believed their internet skills were adequate to teach their course(s) and posting and receiving assignments worked smoothly (91%). As illustrated by Figure 2, of those who sought support during the Fall2020 term, the majority (63%) submitted a ticket through UMBC’s request tracker system. Around half of respondents also gained assistance through PIVOT training or from their colleagues.
Figure 2: Percent of Respondents Leveraging Resource
The qualitative comments followed several primary themes, one of which was a concern for the quality of online instruction compared with traditional f2f instruction. In general, the harshest criticisms appeared to originate from instructors who did not participate in PIVOT. These qualitative descriptions complement the quantitative data, which indicate 63% percent of instructors would most like additional improvements to support Learner Engagement, while 45% of instructors would like to get a better handle on the best tools to fit their unique instructional needs. Additionally, there were voiced for the tools that were available for instruction, both articulated as there being too many choices and not the correct ones for their interests, particularly around synchronous instruction (e.g., disapproving of Bb Collaborate or WebEx while lauding Zoom or Google). Another area of concern was physical access to technology for both students and instructors. This element is echoed in the likert-type data, where 20% did not agree with the evaluation that the technology available to them during the fall was sufficient for teaching synchronously (e.g., students’ use of Chromebooks, lack of web cameras, or poor internet access).
However there were also many comments supporting the transition to away from fully f2f instruction, as exemplified by the Professor Adler’s quote at the top of this summary. Respondents voiced their appreciation for the support they received transitioning online, or described how they were able to grow pedagogically in online spaces and hoped to carry forward these new knowledges, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to their instruction once the university eventually moves back to some semblance of normal.
~ By Tom Penniston & Mariann Hawken