The traditional faculty convocation and orientation workshops, which are organized each semester a week before the start of classes, took a different format this semester. The academic unit heads and both full-time and part-time faculty took part in the sessions that were held, during three days starting August 31, 2020, partly online and also face-to-face on campus. For this edition, physical contacts were limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all the safety and sanitary measures were respected, for the sessions on campus, in order to preserve the health of the participants.

Prof. Ahmed Legrouri, Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, welcomed the heads of academic units and the faculty members, on behalf of President Saliou Touré, and commended them for the hard work and the extra effort that was needed to switch from face-to-face to online teaching in March 2020.

The following sessions were conducted online (webinars):

  • Welcome address and discussion of the policies related to online teaching and scheduling of in-person sessions on campus (Prof. Ahmed Legrouri);
  • Introduction to the orientation and the library of online resources that are available to faculty for professional development (Ms. Lorie Mattox, UPP);
  • A panel discussion on best practices for online teaching (Dr. Priscilla Adipa, BSS, Dr. Mamadou Kone, STEM, Ms. Emeline Kouame, UPP, and Mr. Mohamed Lekrama, UPP, facilitated by Ms. Brioné LaThrop, BSS);
  • The importance of communication and feedback in online teaching (Ms. Julie Reimer, UPP, and Mr. Michael Burgess, UPP, moderated by Dr. Ousmane Ag Dalla, STEM);
  • Using flipped classroom techniques (Dr. Marcel Silue, STEM and Ms. Lorie Mattox, UPP, with Dr. Priscilla Adipa, BSS, as facilitator).

In addition, small technical workshops were held on campus. These face-to-face sessions were organized in order to allow for some experience sharing among the faculty on the use of information technology in delivering online courses and interacting remotely with students. Further to two workshops for UPP faculty teaching, on one hand, Academic Writing and Grammar and, on the other, Reading, Oral Communication & Listening, the hands-on workshops dealt with:

  • Making and editing videos (Mr. Celeste Bah, STEM);
  • Overview of Zoom, Google Meet and Hangouts (Dr. Koffi N’da, BSS);
  • Creating multimedia materials with Google slides (Ms. Julie Reimer, UPP);
  • Creating Moodle quizzes (Ms. Emeline Kouame, UPP);
  • Using Google forms for surveys and quizzes (Mr. Rodrigo Islas, UPP);

The two schools (BSS and STEM) had their first general faculty meetings of the semester online while UPP held theirs on campus.