March 28, 2020

FMU faculty, staff, and student body make online instruction a success

FMU faculty, staff, and student body make online instruction a success

Francis Marion University moved to online instruction with few flaws last week. 

FMU made the transition in response to the coronavirus outbreak. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ordered all state public universities to close their campuses, except for essential personnel, and move to remote-instruction in mid-March. FMU was on spring break March 16-22. The university extended spring break two days to give faculty some extra time to prepare, then launched online teaching on March 25.

Francis Marion University Provost Peter King says hard work on the part of all involved helped FMU move to the new instructional method with relative ease.

“FMU’s online instruction is underway and I couldn’t be more pleased with the way our faculty and students have responded,” said King. “During a challenging time, our faculty and administration worked together to develop an effective method of instructional delivery. The teamwork displayed amongst the faculty was especially gratifying.

“Our ability to provide meaningful instruction will enable our students to complete the current semester and remain on track academically. And, it allows us to continue our mission even as we navigate this period of uncertainty.”

Faculty had the freedom to choose the method of online teaching that best suited each class. Some taught courses “live,” at regular class times, while others posted recorded lectures, readings, videos, and other materials, online with assignments for the students to complete. Technology deployed included Blackboard, FMU’s standard online academic platform, Google Classroom, Zoom video conferencing and more. and a host of other platforms.

Francis Marion University’s Campus Technology and the Center for Academic Success and Advisement played roles in assisting faculty. Because a small percentage of FMU classes are already taught online, faculty with online experience and technology expertise collaborated with colleagues with less experience.

FMU’s spring semester is scheduled to end in late April.