SPECIAL TO THE CATHOLIC HERALD
Like other schools around the country, the pandemic has forced Marquette University to develop a remote learning model to keep students and staff safe. The ability to navigate distance learning also branched into offering online tutoring sessions through Microsoft Teams.
While developing online college courses are nothing new, putting the entire university online with only a few days’ notice is another situation entirely, said Sarah Feldner, dean of the Diederich College of Communication.
“In our college, we have several programs online, including a Master’s degree and an undergraduate degree. Normally when putting a course online, you spend months creating a structure for the course,” she said. “The greatest challenge in this case was the speed with which faculty made the transition. Further, the course design principles can be radically different in how you set up the entire course.”
Even greater than putting the courses online so quickly is the challenge for the faculty not accustomed to teaching online, as well as students who did not choose to take online courses.
“Everyone had to adjust their mindsets,” said Feldner.
The instructors are using discussion boards, recorded lectures, voice over PowerPoint and live group meetings to teach. As with many other universities, Marquette will remain online through the end of the semester.
To keep kids busy during the Safer at Home mandate, the Marquette Kids Club is helping children pass the time while instilling Golden Eagle pride.
Normally, members attend the school’s regular season’s soccer, volleyball, lacrosse and women’s basketball games as well as two men’s basketball games and other events. Due to the novel coronavirus, university officials wanted kids to have an opportunity to participate in fun activities.
The Club is offering coloring pages, mazes, photo hunts, jersey designs, connect the dots and crossword puzzles on the Marquette Kids Club website.
According to Greg Cronkite, director of marketing and fan engagement, the more than 300-member kids club has been in existence for approximately 10 years, with the last four in its current structure.
“The kids club helps us provide special opportunities and events, and engage with our youngest fans along with developing a lifelong Marquette fandom from a young age,” he said. “Matt Michalko, marketing assistant, and Kylie Reinhold, ticket sales and services manager, are the two that manage the kids club and facilitate the events throughout the year.”
It was Reinhold’s idea to add online content to keep the children engaged while being home from school.
The Kids Club will have new activities added over the coming weeks to keep the content fresh and engaging for the Kids Club members and the Marquette community.
With the spread of COVD-19, visiting a college campus at this time is risky, so rather than simply cancel all campus visits, Marquette University is bringing the campus to prospective students, virtually.
According to Dr. John Baworowsky, VP of enrollment management, it didn’t make sense to bring a few students to campus when all of the buildings and residence halls were empty and with the May 1 candidates reply date looming, the school decided to develop a two-tier strategy to assist students in making a decision.
“May 1 is the date most universities require students to make a deposit to commit to an institution, but a lot of them have not made it to campus. We have had to cancel two of our big student admission dates in April where more than 1,000 come, so we have developed more online content to help them with making up their minds,” said Baworowsky. “One of the things we did was set up an intensive amount of telephoning and texting to help students set up appointments to talk to faculty, financial aid or enrollment with an admissions counselor and their families”
Baworowsky said they also asked all of the colleges and department chairs and faculty to create personal videos on their cell phones to discuss their program and what excites them about Marquette. Using a personal cell phone appears more genuine and less staged, which adds to the school’s appeal, he said.
If families are uncomfortable making a decision to send their son or daughter to Marquette without physically exploring the campus, Baworowsky said they can ask for an extension to June 1 before making a commitment.
“We didn’t think to change the deadline was the right approach, but if they ask, we can give them to June 1; it is an evolving thing and I hope we can have campus tours in June,” he said. “It was fortuitous actually, that we already had virtual tours on our website for international students or those that can’t come here for a visit.”
Students interested in learning more about courses, their intended field of study can contact the admissions office within the university and connect with faculty to discuss courses and requirements.