Shifting to Online Instruction: A Q and A with Assistant Professor, Instructional Designer

Han Nee Chong-shaka-at-computer

In this Q&A with Han Nee Chong, Ed.D., assistant professor and instructional designer, she shares how she helped to prepare the HPU campus community for the transition to online instruction on Wednesday, March 18, and how she and her fellow faculty and students are adjusting to the change. 

 

What was your role in preparing our campus community for the transition to online instruction?

I have two roles: as an instructional designer and as an assistant professor. In my role as an instructional designer, I support faculty by providing in-person and online training sessions on how to convert f2f courses to online instruction quickly. I've also created and curated Blackboard Help videos for faculty and students, which are on the landing page in Blackboard Learn, as well as on the ITS knowledge base. I work closely with our ITS helpdesk team members, who have been integral in supporting our campus community as we transition to online instruction. 

As an assistant professor, I've also had to convert my f2f course to online instruction. My role, in this case, was to communicate expectations to students, answer any student concerns or questions, and to remain flexible during this time of change. 

 

What is your day like now that HPU moved to online instruction for the remainder of the Spring term?

Three words describe my day: increased screen time. I spend most of my day attending meetings via web conference tools, answering emails from faculty and students, troubleshooting Blackboard related issues, recording lectures for my students, and holding synchronous class sessions. My smartphone is like an extension of my hand, and I'm only as productive as my wifi connection at home. Everything that can be done online is done online: instruction, assessment, communication, collaboration.

 

How is it different from your previous workdays?

Yes, I've been working from home for the past two weeks, and to be honest, I'm busier now than ever.  Without the physical separation of work and home, I found myself working around the clock, at all hours of the day and on weekends. My work email is synced to my cellphone, so it's constantly pinging. I'm answering emails like they're text messages, back and forth, all day. I know this is a time of adjustment for everyone, and hopefully, once everyone gets settled in, I'll be able to set boundaries for work and take regular breaks.

 

How are your students adjusting? 

My students from my f2f course are adjusting well. They're familiar with Blackboard since I have their course assignments and quizzes already set up in Blackboard at the beginning of the semester. We started meeting synchronously every week during regular class times, using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra two weeks ago. There was some initial anxiety about using the new platform, but once we completed one session, it became their new normal. 

Some of my students have moved back home to be closer to family, and they appreciate the flexibility of online instruction. I think having weekly synchronous class meetings during regular class time help students maintain a somewhat normal routine and structure, and help alleviate social isolation.

 

Do you have anything else to share related to this?

Be patient, be flexible, and, most of all, be kind to ourselves and each other as we adjust to the new normal. We'll get through this together!

 

For three consecutive years, Chong has won an award from Blackboard, acknowledging her innovative work in online course design; Blackboard announced her most recent award in February.

Last Friday, KITV news reached out to interview Chong, wanting to share with its viewership the online learning process. Chong’s CV is posted here.