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University Professors Prepare To Transition To Online Classes

Laptop computer
Ian Usher

University professors across North Carolina are preparing to transition to online classes to prevent the spread of COVID-19.Many universities are shifting or extending their spring break, in part to give instructors time to plan.

Some professors have little experience teaching online, so there will be a learning curve for many, as they troubleshoot tech problems and learn new tools.

Duke University professor Betsy Albright has taught online before. She says it can be challenging for instructors who prefer group work over formal lectures.

"Trying to keep that structure, and find ways, through discussion boards,through tweeting, through other mechanisms, where we can have engaged discussions," Albright said.

For Karrie Dixon, chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, a goal is for administrators to help faculty with the transition while students head to spring break early this week.

"Some faculty have never taught online before," Dixon said. "So this is new and this is gonna be different for everyone. We're trying to do everything to supply our faculty with that type of instruction, but also to prepare our students and give them options and flexibility."

Universities are also making sure students without internet at home have access to their classes, by keeping computer labs open or distributing internet hotspots.

Officials are doing just that at ECU, according to Dixon, especially because the university is located near many economically distressed counties.

Liz Schlemmer is WUNC's Education Reporter, covering preschool through higher education. Email:
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