SMU Instruction & Technology Readiness: Preparing for Fall 2020

Farewell to July: Ready for August!

Recently, I received the dubiously perfect birthday gift—someone who knows me too well presented me with a desk plaque which reads simply: “Let Me Overthink That.”  I’m a worrier, I’m an over-analyzer, and I’m the guy who—just before the meeting is over—prolongs the meeting by another 15 minutes anticipating all of the other things that might go wrong—and how we can strategize to keep those things from happening.  Generally, things go pretty smoothly despite my bias toward preparing for the worst.  To the best of our ability, we are committed to continually supporting and encouraging you in this challenging work toward preparation for the Fall 2020 term.  As it happens, I can vouch for your campus faculty support partners who share the similar characteristic I mention above—we make it our job to overthink things to improve support and experiences for our faculty and students.  Please remember that we’re here to help—if you have any instructional planning or preparation questions or challenges—don’t overthink or worry about it too long—let us partner with you to find answers to your questions and concerns. Website: Readiness Guides & Resources

Whether you are teaching SMUFlex or Fully Online, you’ll find new information at the SMU Keep Teaching website. This site has been reorganized to that you can easily find the resources you need. If you would like resources that you do not see there, or have any suggestions for the improvement of this site, please let us know! We update the site regularly and have recently refreshed with special sections on:

 Schedule Your SMUFlex Classroom Orientations & Training Now!

SMUFlex: Getting StartedYour new SMUFlex-equipped classrooms are either already completed are almost ready.  Your college’s Academic Technology Service Director will be ramping up communications and scheduling both virtual and in-person SMUFlex classroom training and orientations for you to prepare for and practice using the new technology tools. Don’t delay, visit your scheduled classroom space ASAP to begin orienting to the new AV tools. Contact your school’s Academic Technology Services Director to coordinate and to schedule a personalized demonstration or get more information. 

We need you!  Teaching & Technology: Faculty Virtual Webinar Series

Similar to the virtual conference hosted in May, we will host an online conference of faculty-led workshops about teaching and technology in mid-August. We will feature curricula for faculty at all levels of online teaching experience from beginning to advanced—and we will also offer several tracks based on how you will be teaching and testing students in the fall. We are looking for faculty presenters, if you are experienced teaching online, have taught HyFlex previously, have experiences to share about engaging students digitally — please contact me. We’d love to feature you and your experiences to help other faculty!

Extended time for Online Teaching & Canvas Technology courses

Over the past several days, the joint OIT/CTE online readiness facilitators have received significant feedback about course progress along with requests for some additional time to complete course requirements.  After consulting with the Provost’s Office, we have decided to extend the course completion dates from July 31, 2020, to August 10, 2020!  We hope that this change of the deadline provides you with additional time and flexibility to successfully complete these two online readiness courses.  If you haven’t yet started, please start no later than August 4, 2020, to ensure you budget adequate time to complete the courses before facilitation ends.  If you aren’t yet registered or have any questions about the courses, please contact the main IT Help Desk immediately!

If You Need Help Preparing for Fall—Contact These People ASAP!

The Academic Technology Services and Center for Teaching Excellence teams provide individualized pedagogical and technical assistance with Canvas, Zoom, and instructional support resources to help you prepare for Fall 2020. In addition to the many general support resources available at SMU—please make frequent use of your local faculty support partners. Especially if you have any questions, are having any trouble, or want to learn more about either online teaching or new remote technologies in your classrooms—please reach out for personalized assistance.

Here is a listing of the important academic support offices which are available to help you—if you don’t know the Academic Technology Service Director in your area—please reach out to say hello! Also included are important gateway contacts to the CTE and SMU Libraries!

School Academic Technology Services Contacts
Dedman College of Arts and Sciences Faye Walter
Dedman College of Law James Pan
Meadows School of Arts Mousumi Tanha
Lyle School of Engineering Merlin Wilkerson
Simmons School of Education & Human Development Jennifer Culver
Cox School of Business Christina Churchill
Perkins School of Theology James Pan
SMU Guildhall Levi Sterling
Academic Technology Services Jason Warner
Other Important SMU Faculty Services Area Contacts
Center for Teaching Excellence Contact Michael Harris
SMU Libraries Contact Elizabeth Killingsworth

If you have any questions or need additional assistance, please contact anyone on the list! Advanced teaching assistance and instructional design consultation is available from the Center for Teaching Excellence by contacting Michael Harris or the CTE at For assistance with any Library needs, please contact Elizabeth Killingsworth or use the SMU Libraries’ Ask Us – Virtual Help page.

If there is anything that we can do to serve you or to communicate with you more effectively, please let me know.

With gratitude,

Jason Warner
Executive Director, Academic Technology Services

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Jason Warner

Associate CIO, Academic Technology Services