Contact: James Carskadon
STARKVILLE, Miss.—For the first time in Mississippi State’s 142-year history, all of the university’s classes are being taught using online instruction.
The mid-semester transition this week to full online instruction comes as MSU, like universities across the country, takes measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. MSU will continue to deliver all classes online for the remainder of the spring semester.
“This situation has created an unprecedented interruption to our day-to-day campus activities, and I want to thank our students, faculty and staff for their hard work and patience as we navigate these challenges,” said MSU Provost and Executive Vice President David Shaw. “I am proud of the way the university community has come together and developed creative solutions to ensure that our students receive effective instruction and continue to make progress toward their degrees. It is yet another demonstration of the Bulldog spirit that creates such a close-knit family, whether we are together on campus or connecting online.”
Several MSU units worked together over the last two weeks to help faculty and students prepare for the launch of online classes, including the Center for Distance Education, MSU Libraries, Center for Teaching and Learning, and Information Technology Services. Colleges and departments also worked to address the specific needs of their faculty and students.
Susan Seal, executive director of MSU’s Center for Distance Education, said it has been an “all hands on deck” effort to move classes online in a short amount of time. With each class having its own needs, Seal noted that faculty are using different resources and finding new ways to meet learning objectives.
“Through dozens of training sessions and other means, we have put everyone’s expertise out in full force,” Seal said. “I have also seen a lot of faculty helping each other organically. The Center for Teaching and Learning developed a list of faculty who have expertise in online learning, so they can help others. I have also seen faculty talking via social media to each other to solve problems and answer questions.”
Students additionally have adapted to the situation, completing coursework from home or other locations with internet access.
“Obviously it’s not ideal, because our students love to be on campus, taking part in everything MSU has to offer,” Seal said. “But what I have seen is that students understand this is an unprecedented time, and they are doing what they can to make it work well. It’s really been a great effort with students and faculty reaching out to each other. Communication is key during all of this.”
The MSU Learning Center is using WebEx to provide tutoring and supplemental instruction for each class in which these services were offered previously. For more information, visit www.tlc.msstate.edu/tutoring/online and www.si.msstate.edu/schedule.
MSU has developed several resources for faculty and students to navigate the transition to online classes, which can be found on the university’s page for COVID-19 guidance and information, www.msstate.edu/coronavirus.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.