COVID-related Resources for Higher Education

April 16, 2020 Kris Babe

The extraordinary collegiality and collaboration we’ve seen in higher education amid the COVID-19 crisis are truly heartwarming. The number of resources being shared can be overwhelming, so we’re collecting some here with a specific focus on mitigating the pandemic’s impact on teaching and learning and institutional effectiveness efforts. Check back often, as we’ll continue to add helpful resources as they become available.

Institutional Effectiveness

The downsides of manual processes on campus came into sharp relief as the COVID-19 pandemic forced institutions to quickly move online. Here are 5 reasons to use digital tools to support key learning and improvement efforts.

When the unexpected happens, how can you ensure you’re working toward your institution’s mission? Here are 4 ways to maintain institutional effectiveness despite disruption.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has gathered information from accreditors regarding their changes to practices and standards during the pandemic.

Assessing Student Learning Outcomes

How can you assess student learning after a midterm shift from in-person to online learning? Michaela Rome, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation at the New School, compiled an assessment item bank to help.

The National Institute of Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) launched a webinar series to support assessment professionals in these challenging times. Topics include assignment design, curriculum mapping as educational design, meaningful transparency, and more.

The Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) created a Slack channel to support conversations on assessment issues in the wake of COVID. Email AALHE for an invitation to join. Their ASSESS listserv also features many conversations on assessment issues touched by the pandemic.

Teaching & Learning

The shift to online learning is challenging, both this term and when planning for summer and fall. NILOA has compiled resources to help faculty through the transition.

ePortfolios provide important opportunities to ensure that the distance learning experience is as rich and powerful as brick-and-mortar instruction. Using ePortfolios has been recognized as a high-impact practice by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U).

It’s hard enough to transition to distance learning without Zoombombers creating havoc. UC Berkeley’s Information Security Office offers guidance on Zoom settings to prevent unwanted disruptions.

Looking for tools that facilitate online teaching and don’t require video production skills? Michael Ball, EECS, a lecturer at UC Berkeley, created this tool-agnostic guide that includes recommendations for easy, intermediate, and advanced tools.

People with disabilities “have been using online spaces to teach, organize, and disseminate knowledge since the internet was invented,” writes Aimi Hamraie on the Mapping Access blog, including these tips for accessible teaching.

Remote teaching in hands-on courses such lab sciences or the fine arts is especially challenging. This IHE article shares some tips.

Strategic Planning

How much emergency funding will your institution receive? Here is the Department of Education’s list of CARES Act allocations (PDF).

Preparing for an online fall semester requires careful planning and communication. The Chronicle of Higher Education offers 6 key steps.

Fundraising may soon be as severely affected by social distancing measures as any other aspect of higher education — because it usually happens face to face. David D. Perlmutter, a professor at and dean of the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University, offers this advice for remote fundraising.

Grading & Transcript Notations

Quickly moving courses to distance learning midterm raised questions about grading — with short- and long-term considerations. The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) provides guidance for implementing changes to grading and transcript notations.

Course Evaluation & Institutional Surveys

Higher ed is weighing options for spring course evaluations, from implementing digital processes, to adding questions about distance learning, to skipping them entirely. Here, a panel of higher ed professionals join Watermark to share their digital processes and plans for SET plans.

Your students are having unexpected challenges this semester, including the transition from living independently to moving back in with parents, as reported in the New York Times. Consider conducting surveys to help you understand these student experiences.

Open lines of communication on campus are always vital, but take on an additional importance during times of change or disruption. Here are the 5 ways an integrated course evaluation and survey solution will keep you connected to students during COVID-19.

Faculty Affairs

No faculty member wants a disrupted semester to reflect poorly on their teaching or scholarship. Many institutions have made changes to the tenure clock to neutralize the effects of COVID disruption on tenure and promotion decisions.

Evaluating teaching during the pandemic is tricky. Inside Higher Ed considers the pros and cons of student evaluations of teaching this term. And The Chronicle of Higher Education weighs in with a compassionate approach to evaluating teaching happening during the COVID crisis.

Have a great resource you’d like to recommend? Contact us at marketing@watermarkinsights.com to share your suggestion, and find additional information in our COVID Hub.

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4 Best Practices for Sustaining Institutional Effectiveness in a Crisis
4 Best Practices for Sustaining Institutional Effectiveness in a Crisis

When the unexpected happens, how can you maintain institutional effectiveness despite disruption? Here are ...