Riverside – Over spring break, as the coronavirus situation unfolded, the staff in Information Technology Services at California Baptist University spent many hours prepping the transition to remote instruction. The result: together with Online and Professional Studies, more than 2,000 courses are being offered online at CBU this spring.
CBU transitioned to remote instruction for all traditional undergraduate and graduate academic programs effective March 30 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines from public health authorities. The quick turnaround was possible due to the university’s foresight into online education.
Dr. Tran Hong, associate vice president of technology, said his department has been preparing for such an online transition for some time.
“Anticipation, forethought and business continuity planning has helped CBU prepare for this transition,” Hong said.
Hong said CBU had prepared for such a situation during previous projects. For instance, software licensing was purchased for the entire campus community to study online. Bandwidth and infrastructure improvements also were made for online growth along with adding new online teaching technologies.
“Faculty have several delivery options for their classes,” Hong said.
Available technologies for online classes include Blackboard Learn, WebEx Meeting, Box, and Office 365. Training is available via WebEx webinars and other online resources the Teaching and Learning Center and the ITS Training Center.
If a professor enjoys teaching through live lecture, then they can use a conference room with a telepresence video system using Webex or even a computer at home, Hong said. If a professor is more comfortable teaching asynchronously, then Blackboard is the tool to use. Both technologies can be used together to provide the best student experience, Hong added.
IT staff also worked with academic departments and the CBU Teaching and Learning Center in preparation for moving courses online.
“Have courage and take this opportunity to learn and explore new tools,” Hong said. “The IT team is here to provide support and to make this a fun learning experience. The CBU community is strong, innovative, adaptable and caring. This situation is a good test of how CBU is prepared for continuity of business.”
Students can access online resources on Blackboard and Blackboard basics.
For those with technology questions including faculty members, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The message will be routed appropriately to address the need.