MORAVIAN COLLEGE’S TRANSITION TO ONLINE TEACHING
--Moravian University is an Apple Distinguished School “ the most innovative schools in the world”!
On March 16, 2020, social distancing was extended to the entire State of Pennsylvania by Governor Tom Wolf, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In order to comply with the State’s mandate, Moravian University, along with most other colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, transitioned all of its face-to-face courses to online platforms. Under normal circumstances, this forced transition to totally online teaching and learning would have been extraordinarily challenging, if not impossible. Fortunately, due to Moravian’s proactive planning, which we began many years ago, our College became an innovative leader in online technology and education. We were able to carry out a relatively smooth transition to online teaching and learning.
Here is the history of some of the online resources, state-of-the-art technological infrastructure and equipment, and advanced digital training that Moravian offers its faculty, staff, and students.
- In 2013, a major digital infrastructure upgrade on our campus’s bandwidth was part of a comprehensive plan to make Moravian an All-Mac campus and to integrate technology into all of our classrooms. Renewing, upgrading and expanding our technological infrastructure continues a central ongoing mission of Moravian’s Information Technology department. In 2014, Moravian University made the commitment to equip every full-time faculty member with a MacBook and an iPad. This decision supported and advanced Moravian’s commitment to provide a 21st century cutting-edge education for all of its students.
- In 2014, Moravian University implemented a policy that would give every incoming first-year student a MacBook and an iPad. This plan reinforced Moravian’s idea that technology goes hand-in-hand with innovation, creativity, global engagement, and global connectivity. In addition, Moravian invested in a high quality “Unified Access” networking system which provides extremely effective and efficient internet access to wifi and all of the educational resources students and faculty need anywhere on campus. Moravian was awarded the 2015 Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Global Breakthrough Award for this initiative.
- In 2018, Moravian University became an Apple Distinguished School. This endorsement constitutes one of the most important milestones in our effort to become an innovative leader in higher education. Apple Distinguished Schools have documented results of excellence in teaching through various technologies; they have cultivated a technologically creative cultural environment in which teaching, learning and technology are seamlessly integrated. In short, Apple distinguished schools are “the most innovative schools in the world.”
- Professional development is a key value at Moravian. To this, Moravian University’s Department of Information Technology, Department of Online Education and Innovation, and the Teaching And Learning Center work in collaboration to offer faculty and students all of the technological support they need. These departments have full-time Instructional Designers and Instructional Technologists who are experts in their fields and are continuously providing the most up-to-date best practices to faculty, staff and students on the most advanced technologies, software and the University’s management learning system, Canvas. During this transition, these departments have offered several enriching training workshops to the Moravian faculty.
We are proud that, in the past several years, we have made the forward-thinking decisions and investments in our learning community that have catapulted Moravian to the forefront of innovation and technology among its peers. The College has provided the solid foundation for faculty to continue to fulfill our mission of engaging students in the liberal arts, while preparing them “for a reflective life, fulfilling careers, and transformative leadership in a world of change” through online education.
Dr. Bernie Cantens, Philosophy Professor
Associate Provost of Online Education and Innovation