May 12, 2022

UCF’s instructional design staff keeps online learning up-to-date

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — As the pandemic continues, more students are turning to online courses to gain the knowledge and skills they’ll need to graduate.


What do you want to know

  • Due to the pandemic, online courses are increasingly used in universities and colleges across the country
  • At UCF, instructional design staff ensure teachers and students can be creative
  • UCF is listed in the top 15 universities nationwide for online bachelor’s degree programs by US News and World Report

And universities are stepping up their efforts to improve their online courses. The continued emphasis on online coursework and learning at UCF helps both the university and its graduates for the future.

On a hot Tuesday afternoon, few students are walking around the University of Central Florida campus. With the pandemic having halted many in-person classes, most students are turning to computers for online classes instead.

“So for nurses, our schedules are all over the place, and so it provides so much flexibility,” said Mallory Mauney, who graduated from UCF in December 2020 with her master’s of science and nursing with a focus in care simulation. health.

Online and hybrid online/in-person courses made up nearly all of Mauney’s courses. She said she appreciated that it made it easier for her to juggle work and school at the same time.

For the third consecutive semester, the majority of UCF courses are delivered remotely, so instructional design staff members are stepping up their efforts to ensure teachers and students can still get creative.

“If they need graphics, we set them up with that. Video, we set them up with that,” said Kathleen Bastedo, instructional designer at UCF.

Custom software can also be created in some cases.

For the Healthcare Simulation Certificate Program, custom software creates training rooms. Previously, students created these same assignments in pencil and paper and scanned them. Now they are building them.

“So having this software where they can create, take a screenshot and submit it as an assignment – ​​it’s a lot easier for students,” Bastedo said.

Videos, graphics, and even custom software built into online courses can help students stay engaged while learning from home. And learning through creative simulations can help cement students’ skills in future careers.

“While you’re practicing, you’re actually cognitively thinking ‘Oh, what do I need?’ You can’t just scribble something and get something quickly. You dive deeper into the information,” said Desiree Diaz, associate professor at UCF and course leader in Simulation Operations.

During the pandemic, universities across the country continue to rely on online and hybrid courses to keep students and staff safe. These online skills pay off for many students after graduation. For Mauney, the skills learned in simulation now allow her to teach nurses in real-life situations.

“It prepares you to respond to life-threatening emergency situations, where you have already developed those motor skills and those recognition skills. So it’s not a new experience,” Mauney said.

This is the 25th year of online learning at UCF. A recent report by US News and World Report ranks UCF among the top 15 universities in the nation for online bachelor’s degree programs. Embry Riddle and the University of Florida were also named.