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Office Hours for Faculty - A Means to Increase Remote Teaching Capabilities

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Conference

2020 Fall ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Meeting

Location

Virtual (hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology)

Publication Date

November 7, 2020

Start Date

November 7, 2020

End Date

November 7, 2020

Page Count

7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36053

Download Count

31

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Paper Authors

biography

Benjamin Michael Wallen P.E. United States Military Academy

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Benjamin Wallen is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army and an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is also the Dean's Fellow for Remote Teaching and Distance Learning - Best Practices. He is a 1996 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and obtained an M.S. from both the University of Missouri at Rolla in Geological Engineering and the University of Texas at Austin in Environmental Engineering. Most recently, he graduated with his Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He teaches Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering Technologies. He also serves as a faculty advisor for the senior capstone design course and several independent research projects.

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biography

Diana M Thomas United States Military Academy

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Diana M. Thomas received her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1996. She then completed a National Research Council funded post-doctoral fellowship at the United States Military Academy and the Army Research Laboratory. In 2000, she joined the faculty of the Montclair State University where she was a professor of mathematics for 17 years. She also served as the director of the Montclair State University Center for Quantitative Obesity Research. Dr. Thomas is currently a professor of mathematical sciences at the United States Military Academy at West Point. She holds joint research appointments at the Columbia University New York Obesity Research Center and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and serves on the editorial board for the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, PloS One, and Nutrition and Diabetes. She has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles in exercise, fitness, nutrition, and body weight regulation relying on diverse mathematical methods ranging from differential equations to machine learning. Some of the questions she is investigating are “Why do individuals not lose weight during exercise?”, “How can we objectively monitor diet in humans?”, and “Does body shape and posture predict military injury?” Her work has been covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fitness Magazine, Good Housekeeping, CBS News, and ABC News. Dr. Thomas holds the 2012 Mathematical Association of American of NJ Distinguished Teaching Award and the 2015 Obesity Society George Bray Founder’s Award.

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Abstract

Background: There are well-established yet non-intuitive best practices for remote teaching and learning. Faculty are generally exposed to these best practices through university teaching centers of excellence sponsored workshops. Unfortunately, these workshops are not mandatory and faculty continue to rely upon their immediate peers for information. On the other hand, relying on immediate peers only advances knowledge that is accessible in proximity. Methods: With the sudden move to remote teaching at the United States Military Academy, we searched for new approaches to reach faculty quickly so they can design their remote courses effectively and seamlessly. In addition, we sought methods to continually reach faculty throughout the semester. We achieved these goals by traditional methods such as a newsletter, well-designed best practices website and workshops. We also introduced a new forum, “The Remote Teaching Office Hours for Faculty.” The Dean’s Fellows for Remote Teaching set up a weekly time where faculty can drop in to ask questions and share information. Experts would be available to answer specialized questions such as intricate questions about platforms or best pedagogy to reduce cheating. The Office Hours was set up without presentations but short clips of information (~3 minutes) with immediate Q&A opportunities for faculty. Just like office hours for students, faculty are encouraged to drop in at any time during the 45-minute window of Office Hours to ask about anything in which they are interested. Results: Attendance at Office Hours has been consistent and high with faculty sharing screens with information and asking questions. Students have attended office hours to describe to faculty how consuming remote classes was experienced. Faculty enjoy the collegiality afforded by meeting and like the interactive dissemination of information that differs from other traditional forms. The pedagogical conversation initiated by individual faculty through the chat window spontaneously continues for the entire week until the next Office Hours. The conversations erased disciplinary boundaries and shaped pedagogy across campus with faculty considering everyone in the Office Hours with the same familiarity as their colleague in the office down the hall. Conclusion: Remote faculty Office Hours is a scalable and feasible method to disseminate good online pedagogy immediately and quickly university wide. In addition to dissemination of strong online pedagogy, community was built between faculty, staff and student support services at a time that face-to-face relationships were unlikely to form.

Wallen, B. M., & Thomas, D. M. (2020, November), Office Hours for Faculty - A Means to Increase Remote Teaching Capabilities Paper presented at 2020 Fall ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtual (hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology). https://peer.asee.org/36053

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