Innovation and Creativity Help Instructors Deal With Pandemic’s Challenge

American Sign Language Studies instructors and staff created a “percussion song” using the UWM Panther fight song as one way to engage students.

In March 2020, UWM faculty faced one of the most difficult challenges in the university’s history.

Suddenly, because of the exploding COVID-19 pandemic, faculty and teaching academic staff were faced with the need to move classes online in just a few weeks. As the pandemic lingered into the fall semester and then into spring again, the need for online instruction continued, even though some classes were offered at least partially in person.

For some classes that involved labs or performances, the transition was particularly challenging. Other classes that were built around small group discussions or that needed focused attention also needed to be modified. Faculty and staff responded with a lot of work, creativity and innovation, according to Diane Reddy, director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and tech support specialists like Kristin Gaura of the School of Education.

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