FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHAPEL HILL, NC – The UNC System announces the official launch of its Digital Course Enhancements Resource Collections initiative. The initiative has generated ten distinct collections of rigorously vetted materials, curated by UNC System faculty and staff, that will enhance digital instruction. Each collection is aligned with a high-demand course commonly offered across most UNC System institutions.
The course collections are part of an umbrella Digital Learning Accelerator project, initiated to help institutions diversify how content is delivered. By strengthening online teaching practice, the UNC System is working to make courses more adaptable to the challenges COVID-19 presents, expanding options for hybrid teaching or fully online courses. Funding for the Digital Learning Accelerator comes out of the $44.4 million earmarked to the UNC System through the North Carolina legislature’s allotment of roughly $4 billion in federal CARES Act relief funds.
The digital enhancement collections specifically support ten high-demand courses that are common across most UNC System institutions: Introductory Financial Accounting, Anatomy & Physiology 1, General Biology, Calculus 1, Chemistry 1, Chemistry 2, Organic Chemistry 1, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, and Introduction to Statistics.
Each collection features a range of open access content, from educational texts, videos, slides, software, virtual labs, and other digital materials, which vary depending on the subject matter. Instructors will also find content created to support teaching best practices, including assessment tools, assignments, and strategies for using the digital enhancement resources. Each collection is organized into individual modules so that instructors can choose to adopt portions of the content that best suit their needs.
Ten multi-campus teams of faculty, librarians, and instructional design staff from across the UNC System worked together for over a month to curate content that is focused on student learning objectives and outcomes.
“With more than 70 experts from our institutions working in discipline-specific teams, this project represents one of our largest collaborative efforts in recent memory,” said Dr. Andrew Kelly, senior vice president for Strategy and Policy. “Each collection consolidates decades of accumulated teaching experience and a wide array of perspectives to improve how we serve students at all our institutions—this exemplifies what we can accomplish when we act together as a system.”
These resources have been made available to any faculty member or grad student instructor teaching one of the targeted courses. Availability will continue into the fall and spring semesters. To promote this week’s announcement, the faculty teams have created user guides to each collection, and UNC System leadership has organized a series of webinars to give interested faculty a guided tour through the resources available to them.
“Student-focused and effective yet flexible teaching is our guiding principle. Certainly, our institutions are planning to reopen their campuses in the fall, but COVID-19 presents ever-evolving challenges to instruction. These collections will ensure that the faculty in these high-demand courses remain nimble to student needs,” explained Dr. Kimberly van Noort, senior vice president for Academic Affairs and chief academic officer. “Just as importantly, they will give faculty an expanded repertoire of teaching tools, resources, and best practices that will help make any course more dynamic well into the foreseeable future, long after the threat of the pandemic has subsided.”