Clemson University, College of Genetics and Biochemistry
The COVID-19 pandemic forced colleges and universities around the world to teach their courses online. Instantly, digital learning became the new normal in higher education. Suddenly, these teachers found themselves wearing many hats: designing and implementing content, employing various teaching styles, juggling the needs of students, and managing the virtual classroom. Teaching became a delicate balance between classroom facilitator, instructional designer, teacher, and course developer.
At Clemson University, Professor Frank Alex Feltus found himself with several disparate platforms (Canvas LMS, Zoom conferencing, and Slack collaboration) and no easy way to make them work together for his students. Further, his Bioinformatics program was in critically high demand during the pandemic as the need for science graduates skyrocketed.
Convert a traditional face-to-face Bioinformatics course (with labs) into a unified, compelling, hands-on digital course, quickly. Then, seamlessly deliver the program to one-hundred science students and single-handedly manage their interactions, labs, and grades.
To meet this challenge, Professor Feltus employed a five-step design, development, and delivery process for implementation of his digital learning solution. Further, to optimize his students’ learning experience, Professor Feltus partnered with Praxis AI and Avaya to roll out a Praxis AI version of Praxis LXP. Together, each pioneer provided a critical component of the digital learning solution – three legs of the stool:
- Professor Feltus – digital content, lab materials, teaching, and students
- Avaya – synchronous platform (SpacesTM) for virtual classroom, student interactions, and collaboration
- Praxis AI – asynchronous learning platform for delivery of labs, resources, assessments, and grades
The Clemson Bioinformatics digital learning platform comprised interactive learning resources, data-Intensive research labs, virtual collaboration, online classrooms, AI-powered curation, assessment, and mentoring all delivered in a virtual, centralized learning experience.
- Professor Feltus’ biggest surprise was the level of engagement and interactivity on the forums and mentoring channels – 50 messages a day. It was exciting for him to see how many students embraced remote collaboration. He is convinced that he is interacting with his students more online than in any previous in-person version of his course.
- Based on the comments from the channels above, Professor Feltus’ students loved the experience. They agree that the level of communication has improved dramatically.
- The remote, hands-on labs are a big hit. In his non-digital course, Professor Feltus didn’t have the platform to provide anytime, anywhere labs for his students. Also, he has learned how to use the platform to streamline the grading process for 27 labs x 100 students. Workflow efficiency is key.
- The depth and breadth of online analytics are insightful and powerful. Professor Feltus believes he had much more visibility into student performance and usage than with his previous courses. Students can’t hide in the back row anymore.