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Embracing #TeachAnywhereUKY, #WorkAnywhereUKY

April 15, 2020

From entertaining Zoom backgrounds to reassuring anxious students, faculty and staff members have continued to deliver a high-quality engineering education with their trademark can-do spirit and personal attention.

When University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto announced on March 11 that all instruction would be moved online in an effort to ensure the health and safety of the UK community due to COVID-19, the College of Engineering went into scramble mode. In less than ten days, it needed to transition over 350 courses to an online delivery format. What's more, faculty members used to lecturing or fielding questions in front of a classroom found themselves retrofitting living spaces and adapting course material to the online format. 

"I teach Thermodynamics in 10 minutes...my stomach is full of butterflies and I’m actually anxious," tweeted chemical engineering professor Isabel Escobar. "I have not felt like this before a class in over 18 years! I want it all to work right so much because I want my students to learn! Wish me luck!"

But they made it work. From entertaining Zoom backgrounds to reassuring anxious students, faculty and staff members have continued to deliver a high-quality engineering education with their trademark can-do spirit and personal attention.

"Another #TeachAnywhereUKY week @ukyengineering," tweeted civil engineering associate professor Kelly Pennell. "One student works at a hospital—it’s intense, but they are ok. Another student is concerned about loved ones in a developing country. We listen. We learn. We show our care. We move forward with course content. #TeamKentucky."

Best of Zoom

Sure, faculty members can display their living rooms or home offices as they teach, but a few creative folks appropriated Zoom's ability to display virtual backgrounds. Gabe Dadi, associate professor of civil engineering, has chosen a different background for each class based on his favorite places. 

"Class 3 of #TeachAnywhereUKY took us to my father’s birthplace and to the 1100s. Emperor Gebre Mesqel Lalibela had 11 churches cut from a single rock in Roha, Ethiopia. Background is the most famous Church of St. George. Now that's a construction project! #lalibela #Ethiopia."

Class 4 of #TeachAnywhereUKY ... It's April, which means it's racing time in central Kentucky. Time for a trip to @keenelandracing! Ended up breaking even on the day. #AFewOfMyFavoritePlaces 

 

And who doesn't already think ECE Professor Bruce Walcott is out of this world?

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Home Improvements

There were few faculty members with ready-made spaces for teaching online courses. Hence, engineering professors had to do what they do best: solve problems. 

Isabel Escobar received help from her dog and stuffed animal.

"Let’s start on this home office for online teaching Thermodynamics. I received my new desk... this looks a bit complicated so I enlisted the help of coworker here! She’s going over the instructions!"

 

ECE lecturer Laura Letellier created a nice setup with five screens at her disposal.

And recruiter John Roberts is always up for chatting with a prospective student from the comfort of his own dining room table. 

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Special Delivery

Finally, COVID-19 delayed, but could not prevent, civil engineering assistant professor Shakira Hobbs from receiving a 6470 Triple Quadrupole LC/MS system purchased from Agilent Technologies. The system came in four boxes weighing over 1,000 pounds total. Hobbs purchased the system thanks to a Vice President for Research Equipment grant.