Spring 2022 Communicator
Vol. 30, No. 2 [pdf version]
Petryshak honored for 12 years with ITD
Bruce Petryshak’s nearly 12 years of service to MTSU involved making numerous IT improvements--and many friends as well.
Petryshak retired as ITD Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer on Jan. 31, 2022.
He came to MTSU in August 2010 after serving as Chief Information Officer at Bowling Green State University in Ohio for nine years.
In 2012, Petryshak was named one of the top CIOs in the country, according to ExecRank’s “Top CIO Rankings.”
Petryshak holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Computer Sciences and a master’s of Business Administration from Kent State University.
He also served in the Information Technology Division at Kent State University, where he was executive director of University Information Systems.
Following are comments from former colleagues on Petryshak’s impact at MTSU:
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee
I deeply appreciate Bruce’s many years of service to our University. His innovation, creativity, and dedication helped all of us—students, faculty, and staff—overcome numerous challenges and capitalize upon many opportunities. His passion for innovation and creativity made us more effective and efficient.
And all of us benefited from his leadership during the pandemic, including, but not limited to, his drive to install video technology in our classrooms and providing help to students and faculty needing technology for remote learning.
Thank you, Bruce, for all you have done to make MTSU better and stronger.
Mark Byrnes, University Provost
Bruce had an excellent career in higher education, and he did great work in his time at MTSU.
He was a stalwart partner for Academic Affairs and unfailingly worked to meet the technology needs of faculty, staff, and students. I especially appreciate his efforts during the pandemic, when he led the monumental effort of making sure all classrooms had appropriate technology installed to facilitate remote teaching and learning. He also orchestrated the program through which students who lacked laptops or internet access could borrow devices from the University to enable them to learn remotely.
I wish Bruce all the best in his well-earned retirement and will keep my eyes peeled for him darting around the streets of Murfreesboro in his sports car.
David Butler, vice provost for research, dean of Graduate Studies
It was a pleasure to work with Bruce as CIO at MTSU. Bruce always had new ideas and innovations to help the university, IT and otherwise, move forward. I enjoyed many cups of coffee and conversation on these topics with him over the years.
Debra Sells, vice president for Student Affairs and vice provost
for Enrollment and Academic Services
It was my privilege to chair the search committee that recommended Bruce’s hiring to President McPhee. Bruce was the clear choice among a group of remarkably well-qualified finalists. Even in those early stages, he distinguished himself by the breadth of his commitment to the overall educational mission of the University.
Bruce was no “IT wonk.” He knew his stuff, but he also knew that IT created the underpinnings of nearly every activity of the University, and so he needed to have a broader perspective that went well beyond just technological issues.
Bruce initiated an extraordinary partnership with my division after I shared with
him our plans to construct the new Students Services and Admissions Center (SSAC).
He was familiar with the concept of a One Stop Shop that was in use at a school in
Ohio, and he recommended that we take a small group and go take a look at that model.
Up until that point, our MTSU construction plans for the SSAC were pretty conventional. But once we’d seen the One Stop in action, we called a halt to our plans, reconfigured blueprints, and began a seismic shift in how MTSU delivers enrollment services to our students. If you were working at MTSU prior to the One Stop, you know that most years it was not unusual for students to stand in line for two hours or more to get help from the Financial Aid office in the week before classes.
Now, through the MT One Stop, many functions can be completed by students online, and the typical waiting time, even during our peak seasons in August, is less than 10 minutes. We are generally able to respond to email questions to the One Stop within 24 hours.
None of this would have happened had Bruce not reached out to me to say, “Hey—let’s brainstorm on something entirely different from what you’re planning.”
Bruce’s retirement is well deserved, and I hope he enjoys every minute of it. It makes me smile to think of him traveling the world and, while he is in Tennessee, driving those fancy cars I always teased him about. Best wishes to my friend Bruce.
Chad Mullis, ITD associate vice president for Technical Services
Bruce is truly a one-of-a-kind, visionary force who pushes the envelope through innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. When faced with any challenge, Bruce only accepts that challenges may be difficult, but not impossible.
His leadership elevated MTSU’s Information Technology Division for over 10 years and provided a calming influence during a once-in-a-100-years pandemic. His legacy at MTSU will be felt for decades.
Yvette Clark, interim vice president
for Information Technology and CIO
Bruce had a great relationship with the other CIOs in the State of Tennessee.
His knowledge and experience during his 42-year career in Higher Education Information Technology was an asset.
Bruce was always a great resource and leader when engaging with the CIOs of the other Locally Governed Institutions and coordinating efforts to innovate and collaborate.
Retirement Reception set for April 28
MTSU’s Office of the President and the Information Technology Division
invite University faculty and staff to a Retirement Reception honoring:
▶ Bruce Petryshak, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief
▶ Lisa Rogers, Senior Associate Vice President and Deputy Chief Information
▶ Barbara Draude, Assistant Vice President for Academic and Instructional Technologies
▶ Robin Jones, Assistant Vice President for Client Services & IT Business Operations
It will be 2-4 p.m. Thursday, April 28, in the Student Union Ballroom.
RSVP only if attending to Emily.Harper@mtsu.edu.
What is ServiceNow management
tool that will replace Footprints?
For more than 15 years, ITD has used BMC Footprints for work order tracking but is
now preparing to move to the ServiceNow IT service management system.
“ServiceNow is our IT service management tool and being able to properly use it is critical to the success of ITD,” said Michael Barton, ITD director of Enterprise Support Services.
With this change, MTSU will have a new user-facing self-service portal, through which anyone can report incidents, request services, and track these items as they are being resolved. Other features will include a knowledge base, service desk chat, and change management. ITD will also have a service dashboard for managing, escalating, and resolving these incidents, requests, and changes.
ServiceNow helps teams manage tasks along the whole task life cycle--creation, assessment, approval, assignment management and communication, and completion.
And tasks come in many types, incidents, problems, changes. In fact, your particular
skills--IT, HR, procurement, or finance--may qualify you to be assigned specific kinds
of tasks,” course instructor Jim Kerrigan, an IT service management consultant with
experience including as an engagement manager at ServiceNow, said in the training
Most tasks are incidents, which are the classic help desk or service desk ticket.
For example, a user with an issue can start with the Get Help button, which has options
including change a password, start a new hire procurement process, or create an incident.
The user then describes the issue with as much detail as possible to inform the Help Desk how to resolve the issue. Once submitted, the incident is shown in a list of open incidents, and an IT fulfiller opens and assigns it. For example, if the issue involves a printer problem, the user would submit what type of printer and the fulfiller would make a recommendation such as restarting it.
So this communication going back and forth between the fulfiller and the end user is being done through the incident ticket here for the fulfiller, and through the service portal for the end user,” Kerrigan said.
“Having resolved the incident, it’s now important to record what was done in order
to resolve the incident, and it’s been solved through a workaround, restarting the
Another option is to request a peripheral, for example a new external monitor. A user selects the product she’s interested in and places the order, then tracks the status through the ServiceNow interface.
“She can follow along to see how this requested item is being progressed by looking through the requested item list,” he said. “In a sense, all of this is not terribly different than resolving an incident. Where an incident often has just one fulfiller, a requested item, with its multiple service catalog tasks, almost always has multiple fulfillers.
"A common thread here is that there is a communication path between the user and the fulfiller to track progress and set expectations.”
ServiceNow emphasizes user-friendly options such as collapsing the navigator to preserve space on the screen, following a command history list that shows all of the last 30 commands to help easily repeat one, or establishing favorites as a shortcut to replicate a particular view.
More information will be announced soon on training sessions for faculty and staff to learn ServiceNow basics.
Meanwhile, ITD staff recommends the following as a well-structured introductory course on LinkedIn Learning: Learning ServiceNow.
Tech Tips & Tricks
Here are some of the IT Help Desk's
top FAQs about MS Teams
Microsoft Teams has become more and more popular for collaboration and communication
on campus but that does not mean it is fully understood.
The Help Desk frequently fields questions regarding Teams and following are the answers we give:
Where do I get Teams?
If Teams is not already installed on your computer, a web version is available by going to https://portal.office.com and clicking on App launcher to find it in the list. When prompted, log in with your MTSU username and password.
Once I have the Teams App, how do I get started?
Once you are logged into Teams (you will log in just like you log in to email) you will be able to chat with others and visit your calendar. Assuming you haven’t been added to a Team already you can then create a Team.
How do I create a Team?
When logged into Teams, you will have a Teams icon on the left-hand side. Click on it to reveal any Teams you have been made a member of. Click on the Join or Create Team on the right-hand side.
Choose to create a Team and then choose what type is best for your purposes. Class (for students) and PLC and Staff are perhaps the most common, but experimentation will lead to what best works for your needs. Teams can then be set to private (Members only) or a public Team that anyone can join. At this stage you also get to create the name of your Team.
Can I add a guest to my Team?
Yes. Teams does allow people outside of our organization to be added. Team owners can add guests by going to their member area, choosing Add Member, and typing in the individual's personal email address. The guest will then get an email to allow them to log in.
What is a Channel and why would I use it?
When you use Teams, you are automatically using channels. The Team is a group of individuals, and the Channels make up the working environment. Every Team has a default public channel called General, and Team owners can create new channels to work in. They can include training section, names of specific projects, or just a fun place to post things. Those channels can be open to the entire Team or they can be available only to specific team members.
What about file-sharing?
MS Teams is an easy and reliable file-sharing option.
Inside each Channel, files can be saved that anyone in the Team can use. Those files can then be downloaded to the computer and shared outside as an attachment or copy the link and send that to others. The link can be configured to be open to anyone or to specific people, organizations, etc.
Teams offers security advantages not found in regular email, too. You can share an email to a Channel, but only the people you add to a Team get to post.
As always, should you have questions regarding MS Teams you can reach out to the ITD Help Desk at 615-898-5345 or email@example.com.
Quick note about end of Internet Explorer 11
Internet Explorer 11 is going "end of life" on June 15, 2022, which means for most
Windows versions, using Internet Explorer 11 won't be an option anymore.
This should not have a big impact unless you have an older version such as Windows 7.
IE users should go ahead and switch to another web browser before that deadline.
Microsoft Edge has been accompanying IE on the computers for several years now and Edge’s recent update now, makes it the equivalent of Google Chrome.
ITD couple's love story started with first class at MTSU
For Dustin and Kourtney Smith, love of using technology in storytelling and music brought them together as students
at MTSU, where they became a couple, then co-workers in ITD. Then it was their shared
faith in God that carried them through the challenges of becoming first-time parents
during the COVID pandemic.
After meeting in class their freshman year, they were engaged in spring of 2012 and married in 2013. Their son, Caleb, was born in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic.
“Becoming a parent is a big life change and becoming a parent during a global pandemic was certainly a huge change for us,” said Kourtney, learning multimedia developer in Academic & Instructional Technology Services. She said:
The first COVID case was confirmed in Tennessee just two days after Caleb was born, and then things began shutting down. While there were certainly periods of fear, anxiety, and loneliness, there has also been good to come out of these past couple of years.
"Dustin was able to work from home for the first 3 months of Caleb’s life, and I was
able to return to work from home after maternity leave. We have had so much time to
watch Caleb grow and develop into the wonderful little boy that he is, and it has
been a blessing to be able to slow life down a little bit as we entered parenthood,”
Dustin, a classroom audiovisual technician, described the past two years as “quite a rollercoaster.”
“People often remark on wanting to ‘get back to normal’ after the pandemic. Because parenthood and the pandemic happened simultaneously for us, our normal changed drastically,” he said. “It was challenging, but it afforded us great opportunities to spend time with our newborn and learn how to parent.”
MTSU has been central to their love story—they met in the first class (University 1010) of their freshman year.
“One of the class assignments was to meet with a counselor in the Career Development Center. ... Our professor, Emily Baskin, got to know us individually through our journal entry assignments, and noticed how we were beginning to notice each other,” Kourtney said. She added:
We were sitting together in class one day, and Mrs. Baskin asked Dustin, ‘So, when are you going to ask her out?’ To my shock, Dustin replied, ‘Soon,’ and we began dating a few weeks later in November 2008.
Dustin’s version of the story is as follows:
“To quote our sweet teacher, Emily Baskin: ‘She sat here, and he sat there. Their eyes met, and they’ve been meeting ever since,’” he said. “We dated all through undergrad, and even had one of our first dates in the KUC—first Chick-Fil-A and then Kung Fu Panda in the KUC Theater.”
Kourtney was born and raised in Cookeville, Tennessee, graduating from Cookeville High School.
“In middle and high school, I enjoyed cheerleading for both my high school squad and for a competition team,” she said. “I was also a part of my high school and church youth choirs, and I enjoyed being on the youth group drama team.”
She attended MTSU for undergraduate and graduate degrees, earning a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and English in 2012, then a master’s in Mass Communication in 2015.
Dustin was born in Germany, where his parents were stationed in the military.
“We moved around a bit growing up, but I have lived most of my life in middle Tennessee. I was home schooled and actively involved in playing music, mainly guitar, at church and in a couple of bands,” he said. “During high school, I worked with Tennessee Walking Horses.”
Dustin graduated from MTSU with a bachelor’s in Audio Production and a minor in Entertainment Technology and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration at MTSU.
Kourtney began working on campus as an undergraduate, including as a learning community advisor (LCA) tutoring students in English and mathematics courses and organizing educational/social activities.
“I worked for the EMC Productions truck as a graphics producer and operator designing graphics for MTSU ESPN3 football and basketball games. I also had an internship as a contributing writer for MTSU Magazine and helped produce episodes of Out of the Blue,” she said. “My first full-time job out of college was working as a Technical Operator for NewsChannel 5 in Nashville.”
She worked for 2½ years in the news production department running studio cameras and operated the Viz graphics system during live news broadcasts.
“My last 2½ years there I was a Producer/Director for our cable channel NewsChannel5+, and I produced a variety of live and pre-recorded shows. I worked closely with the Talk of the Town department and was given the opportunity to be a guest baker on the show several times,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dustin worked with Kourtney on the EMC Mobile Production truck as an audio assistant, grip, and camera operator.
“I also worked on some student films and helped with RIM’s annual Listening Night during my senior year,” he said. “After graduation, I worked for the Tennessee state legislature running cameras and graphics for the Tennessee General Assembly during the 2012 legislature. After that, I worked part time for Lipscomb University setting up and operating audio and video equipment for events.”
He worked for Encore for three years, advancing to supervisor, then came back to MTSU in 2016 as a technical specialist for the Student Union. In 2018 he joined ITD’s Client Services Desktop and Classroom Support team. When he came back to working on campus in June 2020, the team was tasked with installing recording equipment in more than 400 classrooms.
“It has been hard work, but the pandemic has been a catalyst for positive change in our classroom technologies,” he said.
Likewise, Kourtney said when she came back from maternity leave, she joined her team’s biggest course development project to date: the University’s Data Science program.“With the Data Science certificate, we completed four courses of all original, from-scratch content in the span of about one year,” she said. “Our team and the professors implemented some creative ways to create content.”
Through all the challenges, their faith has been a comfort and guide.
“I struggled with fear, anxiety, and isolation. It has been hard trying to navigate learning my new role as a working parent during such uncertain times,” Kourtney said. “I think God has used the past two years to teach me about what faith in Him means. Exercising faith is daily trusting in God even in difficult circumstances, reminding myself that I am not in control, and growing in dependence on Him. I have not navigated these difficult years well, but God is faithful, and He will not leave me or stop working on me.”
Dustin agreed that the past two years have had a “fair number of struggles.” He said:
However, God has shown me how much I need Him and how I struggle with the need to be in control. It’s been a humbling process and has reinforced the belief that we all need community and people to walk through life with.
"I still struggle with fear and control, but God continues to show me His heart gently
and graciously and teach me to depend on Him,” he added.
For Kourtney, her interest in tech began as a child with a love of stories and using technology to tell them.“I’ve always loved reading fiction books, watching television, and participating in plays/dramas,” she said. “When I was a kid, my cousins and I would put on plays for our parents. I can remember always wanting to be the director and telling (bossing, really) my cousins on what part to play, how to play it, and writing scripts for them to follow."
As a senior in high school, she decided that she wanted to work in television production.
“I was really inspired by Christian fiction novels, and I wanted to be a part of creating content that brought glory to God and inspiring others through stories,” she said. That dream brought her to MTSU’s Media Arts program.
Similarly, Dustin’s interest in technology first began with music. Growing up in church, he served on worship teams with his father.
“Even as a 9-year-old, I was operating the transparency slide projectors at church along with my best friend,” he said. “I later helped with transport and set up audio equipment. Eventually, I joined some of the worship teams as a guitarist.
It was always thrilling to be in the tech booth helping with lights and audio. I also remember playing with old laptops as a kid and taking apart audio equipment with my dad.
That love of music brought Dustin to MTSU, where he also became interested in theater
and TV production thanks to Kourtney and friends.
“While helping with their projects, I decided to minor in Entertainment Technology so I could gain experience in those fields without changing my major,” he said. “That minor opened doors for me that just Audio Production might not have. . . . I particularly enjoy finishing a big installation and seeing the finished product. Last summer, I led the redesign of the MTSU Observatory system from analog to digital. The installation and programming involved in the project was tough, but personally, very fulfilling.”
A typical day for the couple involves Kourtney working on the course redesign team, helping faculty integrate media for courses.
“Generally, our team is focused on redesigning two courses at a time, so most of my days are spent working on whatever phase of production we are in,” she said.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on campus Dustin might be visiting a classroom to help a professor work out tech issues.
“At least 40% of my day involves responding to emergencies or taking care of tickets,” he said. Other times he is helping with scheduling and training of student workers, planning for future projects, ordering replacement equipment, handling ongoing projects, and finding training opportunities to stay up to date in technology.
“Every day is different for us, and we must remain fluid to the demands of each day,” he said.
Dustin said his biggest work enjoyment and challenges “are tied together.” He especially enjoys helping update or replace outdated systems with better technology.
“I love seeing professors utilize innovative technology in exciting ways. Things like wireless presentation and collaboration, interactive displays, and even augmented reality are all technologies that can enhance students’ learning experiences and potentially draw more students to our programs,” he said. “I think the COVID pandemic has shown that we now live in an age where not everyone has to be in the same room to learn.”
Away from work, the Smiths enjoy crafting, reading, and cooking, including making Christmas presents.
“I personally am like a grandma—I really enjoy baking, needlework, crochet, and going antiquing,” Kourtney said. "We’re both enjoying experiencing new things with our son, like going to the Nashville Zoo or digging around in our backyard garden.”
Dustin also finds time for woodworking and DIY projects.
I enjoy playing and listening to music, though I have not played much since the pandemic-parenthood started.
Zsigalov joins division as new chief information security officer
Deb Zsigalov joined ITD in February as associate vice president and Chief Information Security
Zsigalov attended high school in Hingham, Massachusetts, and has lived in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida.
“My primary job is to guide MTSU’s Information Security program to the next level so that we meet the challenges of our Strategic Plans with the best balance of business objectives and security,” she said.
“Cybersecurity is fluid and changing day to day and in some cases minute to minute, so it is never boring. I like the challenges of troubleshooting and producing secure solutions that allow others to be productive and secure at the same time.”
Before coming to MTSU, Zsigalov had served as chief information security officer for Tennessee Tech University since 2013.
Before that, she worked on the Information Security Team at CGS Administrators in Nashville (2010-2013) and in various technology leadership roles from 1997-2010, eventually becoming vice president of Compliance and Quality Assurance at Bankrate.com in North Palm Beach, Florida.
Zsigalov earned a bachelor’s degree in Marine Transportation Business Management from State University of New York Maritime and earned a U.S. Coast Guard Third Mate Unlimited license.
Zsigalov is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Systems Auditor and Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) and also earned an M.B.A. in Information Systems Management from Tennessee Tech 2019.
“I live in a multigenerational household consisting of my wife, my octogenarian mom, and my niece who is working on finishing her undergrad and heading off to grad school,” Zsigalov said.
“My hobbies include fishing, kayaking, hunting, and learning more about how to improve our farm where we raise Nubian goats, Irish Dexter cattle, mini donkeys, horses and a variety of dogs, cats, and chickens.”
Hutson is new ITD systems admin
Dwight Hutson joined ITD in February 2022 as a Systems Administrator 2.
Hutson, of Cookeville, Tennessee, is a graduate of Tennessee Tech University.
He worked 25 years in IT Services at TTU. At MTSU, Hutson is working as Team Lead in Enterprise Server Services.
Hutson said he is enjoying “the talented systems administrators I get to work with daily” and the challenge of diagnosing issues across complex ITD systems.
Moore is CompTIA A+ certified
ITD Classroom Audio Visual Tech Jonathan Moore received CompTIA A+ certification in February 2022.
The certification is the industry standard for validating the foundational skills needed by today’s computer support technicians.
It covers the essential principles of installing, building, upgrading, repairing, configuring, troubleshooting, optimizing, and preventative maintenance on desktop and laptop computers.
The course also includes elements of customer service and communication skills for working with clients.
Here are some tips and best practices for Microsoft Teams
What’s new in Teams? Following is a collection of some tips, best practices, and training
opportunities for those still learning the advantages of Microsoft Teams.
Mute Notifications During Meetings
You are now able to mute notifications during meetings. You can choose to mute notifications for all meetings or per meeting basis. To turn off Notifications during all meetings, go to Settings > Notifications > Meetings and Calls and toggle the Mute Notifications During Meeting button. To turn off notifications during a specific meeting, click on the ellipsis and choose Mute/Allow Notifications.
Press to Unmute
Stay muted to avoid unwanted background noise during a meeting and rapidly respond when called upon. You can now use a shortcut to unmute by holding down the Ctrl+Space keys (Windows) or Option+Space keys (macOS), then release the keys to go back to muted state again.
This feature is on by default. To disable, go to your Teams Settings > Privacy section and uncheck Keyboard Shortcut to Unmute.
Custom background on web
Custom backgrounds are now available for Teams on the web (teams.microsoft.com). You can blur your background or select from Microsoft-provided backgrounds during your video meeting or call, making your meetings more private and fun. Note that blurring or replacing your background may not completely prevent sensitive information from being visible to other people in the meeting.
Music mode for Teams
High-Fidelity Music Mode enables Microsoft Teams users to experience richer sound experiences when sharing non-speech content such as live music, songs through other applications, or medical signals during a virtual appointment with a physician. High-Fidelity Music Mode enables significantly improved audio quality in Teams calls and meetings.
The optimized experience in Teams applies to signals captured by microphones as well as audio played while sharing an application or desktop.
Mirror My Video
You no longer have to see the text in your video flipped. While the meeting audience sees the text correctly, you see the text flipped. By providing you with the option to un-mirror, you will be able to see the text correctly. Simply go to your Device Settings and toggle off Mirror My Video.
Pin or hide your own video in Teams meetings
You now can pin your own video on the meeting stage. This allows you to see your own video in the increased size on your screen. Inversely, you also can hide your own video during a meeting on others’ screens. This will reduce distractions during calls while still having your video available for other participants. To pin or hide your video, simply click on the ellipsis (…) in your video feed and select Pin for Me or Hide for Me.
Local time added to people profile
To help you with scheduling messages, quickly check your colleague’s time zone, right from their contact card (hover on picture or name), enabling you to time your messages to get faster responses, while being considerate of your colleague’s schedule.
Pin chat messages
Pin a Teams chat message to drive awareness and provide the chat members with quick access to important content. Pinning will help your team stay in sync on what’s relevant in a timely manner. Simply hover over the message you want to pin, click the ellipsis (…) and select the Pin option.
Depending on your monitor size and viewing preference, you might want to change the amount of spacing that appears in chat messages.
Whether you want to optimize to see more text at once or read less text at a more comfortable level, Teams lets you customize the chat density to suit your needs. Click on Settings > General and choose the right spacing for you. Chat Density lets you customize the number of chat messages you see on the screen with different settings.
Compact setting lets you minimize the need to scroll up and down by fitting 50% more messages on the screen. Comfortable setting keeps the chat display as it is in Teams today.
Training and help
If the Microsoft Teams software is not already available on your computer, please ask your departmental IT support staff or contact the ITD Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-898-5345 for assistance.
Please also feel free to explore Teams. In Teams, you will see a Go Teams! icon on the Navigation panel for an interactive Q&A on our Teams environment. Information is also available at the MTSU Teams portal https://www.mtsu.edu/Teams.
Access Success by Cheri Wolfe
Access Success: Let's keep new
appreciation of online learning
In March 2020, the amazing faculty and staff at MTSU moved thousands of courses online
in just two weeks.
Now, as we come to the end of the Spring 2022 semester and with most of our courses returned to traditional face-to-face instruction, a new appreciation for online and web-supported instruction has emerged—one that I believe will endure beyond the lingering effect of the pandemic.
Both faculty and students have a new understanding of what it takes to teach and learn online.
We have a greater understanding of accessibility in that online environment and a new appreciation for well-designed online courses. We now see the barriers that may be there when online courses are not fully accessible.
The past two years have seen over 100,000 hours of videos be created and become the
dominant content delivery method.
Transcription and closed captioning services now have a starring role in our instruction, and for those using Panopto’s recording application and video repository, these services are now automated—your classroom lectures and video uploads receive automated speech recognition (ASR) captioning as soon as they are processed.
There is now a greater emphasis on Universal Design for Learning (UDL)—that is, we are now designing and updating courses with accessibility in mind from the beginning, rather than adding accessible features after a request is made.
These principles of UDL benefit all students and faculty and add to the value of MTSU’s instruction.
Through this pandemic, we have also learned to address issues of inequality in the digital classroom. Our faculty and staff have learned to support users (both faculty and students) with internet bandwidth issues, below-standard equipment, and below-average technical skills.
In addition, our digital responsiveness has increased exponentially. We are supporting our students better and faster than years past.
As we celebrate the return to normal, let us not forget these valuable lessons. Providing quality, accessible content should always be at the forefront of our instruction.
The Faculty Instructional Technology Center is here to support you with workshops,
online courses, and specialized training in course design and accessibility.
Contact us at the FITC at x8189 or email@example.com if you have questions