Carnegie Mellon University
March 17, 2020

CMU Offers Free Resources To Support Remote Teaching

By Caroline Sheedy

Jason Maderer
  • Marketing & Communications
  • 412-268-1151
Julie Mattera
  • Marketing & Communications
  • 412-268-2902

Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative (OLI) is making its courseware materials available for free for the rest of the semester for institutions impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Educators can use OLI learning materials to supplement their remote instruction. The courseware combines an interactive textbook with learning activities, assessments, and rich simulations and includes a robust analytics dashboard that teachers and students can use to assess their learning in real time.

Norman Bier, director of OLI and the executive director of the Simon Initiative, has been watching this month's massive shift to remote instruction delivery with amazement.

"We've rolled up our sleeves and pitched in to help colleagues making the transition to remote instruction here at CMU and around the globe," he said. "Ensuring that the most basic capabilities for online instruction are available for all students and faculty, in all courses, across an institution, mid-semester, is a herculean task. I've been incredibly impressed by the work being done at centers for teaching and learning, like our Eberly Center, across the country."

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Students across the United States are beginning online instruction. CMU's Open Learning Initiative is making its courseware materials available for free for the rest of the semester for institutions impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. (file photo)

The OLI team, which includes learning scientists, instructional designers, learning engineers and educational technologists will host virtual office hours to help support educators making the move to remote instruction. They also will provide guidance on whether OLI materials are a good fit for a particular class.

Additionally, the team will host targeted webinars to walk through the process of adopting OLI courseware and in-depth information on specific courses based on participant interest.

Erin Czerwinski, product and community manager for the Simon Initiative is leading learning engineering efforts for this project. She says anyone in the education community can join the office hours, even if they are not using OLI.

"We have expertise in the hands-on process of getting people to move materials online and are in-touch with the research and practices of online education," she said. "Beyond helping with courseware, we hope the virtual office hours will be a place to share tips on online learning and to connect with the broader community."

OLI is part of the Simon Initiative's OpenSimon toolkit, which harnesses a cross-disciplinary "learning engineering" ecosystem to measurably improve student learning outcomes.

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