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A Pivot to Online Teaching Gets a Primer from Educational Experts Eric Fredericksen ’84S (MBA), ’09W (EdD), associate vice president for online learning, and Lisa Brown ’16W (EdD), assistant director of University IT, help faculty members adapt courses both on the fly and for the long haul. By Jim Mandelaro

Like their colleagues around the country, University faculty members received a rude awakening last March when they learned they would have to move all of their courses online—in the middle of a semester, with little time to prepare for the transition.

Eric Fredericksen, a Warner School faculty member and a national expert on online learning, and Lisa Brown had already anticipated what could be coming. The two worked side by side in the weeks before the campus shut down to develop materials and workshops for faculty. They created an online resource, Teaching and Learning During Times of Disruption. When the decision was made to move courses online, they ran departmental trainings and Zoom workshops multiple times per day to help hundreds of faculty members transition to online teaching. Fredericksen continued to instruct faculty over the summer, running 10 sections of a single course.

During the spring, one of Fredericksen and Brown’s students was John Lambropoulos, professor of mechanical engineering. “I simply do not know how I would have accommodated online learning for an 80-plus-student class without what Eric and Lisa taught me,” he says.

What’s more, “Eric and Lisa provided for me one of the most exhilarating educational experiences in more than 30 years of teaching at Rochester,” added Lambropoulos, a gifted teacher who won a Goergen Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2018 The team works closely with staff at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Fredericksen praises the work of the center’s executive director, Rachel Remmel, who, he says, “leverages all of this work, including the use of what we learn from studies of the student experience, to the support and resources her organization provides to faculty and students.”

Remmel says Fredericksen and Brown made a strong team. “They worked together to develop new resources and vastly expanded the capacity of their Warner School of Education courses that prepare instructors to teach online. I can’t say enough about their efforts.”