Pulling in national experts and teachers on the frontlines of COVID-19 instruction, the virtual series Connecting the DOTS (Distant, Online Teachers & Students) aims to provide parents, students, and instructors context, support, and guidance with remote and hybrid learning.

headshot of Dr. Robyn Seglem

Dr. Robyn Seglem

“Teachers have been given a lot of new tools to use at a dizzying speed,” said Dr. Robyn Seglem, who co-designed the national series along with Dr. Anna Smith. Both are professors in Illinois State University’s College of Education. Seglem noted teachers and parents need more than information on how to use those tools. “They also need to be able to have discussions about what they are trying to accomplish as teachers and how these tools will meet those purposes. Another layer to consider is the social unrest regarding racism and discrimination, and how we address that in the context of remote learning.”

Designed to promote an equitable education, the Connecting the DOTS series will provide “10 Considerations for Remote or Hybrid Learning,” or areas where instructors, parents, and students may be struggling. Topics for consideration include fostering meaningful relationships at a distance, care and caring in remote instruction, anti-racist pedagogy, supporting emergent bilinguals in remote instruction, and more. See the full list on the Connecting the DOTS website.

headshot of Dr. Anna Smith

Dr. Anna Smith

Faculty from Illinois State’s College of Education will facilitate the series, which will include nationally known experts and educators. “There are more than 50 educators and administrators bringing their knowledge and experience to engage teachers, parents, and administrators,” said Smith. “It was our goal to gather educators together to connect, share ideas, and reimagine teaching and learning in more equitable and culturally responsive ways—especially during such trying times.”

Connecting the DOTS features a website with resources on the 10 Considerations, as well as a series of webinars featuring a guest speaker and interactive breakout rooms led by educators and administrators with promising practices to share. Guest speakers include educational leaders such as Meenoo Rami, senior program manager with Minecraft Education and author of Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching; Brandon Thornton, the 2020 East Central Regional Teacher of the Year; and Dr. Antero Garcia of Stanford University, co-author of Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction.

All webinars and interactive sessions will begin at 7 p.m. (CSD). Upcoming webinars include:
October 29 – Dr. Linsay DeMartino of the College of Education will host “Care and Caring Remotely” featuring Kristel Foster, Crystal Schilling, Deanne Ticker-White, and Joy Noriega. Register here.

November 4 – Dr. Christie Angleton will host “Learning at Home” featuring Janelle Henderson, Dr. Vivian Presiado, Dr. Mari Becerra, and Angelica Taylor. Register here.

November 5 – Dr. Grace Kang will host “Positioning Students as Creators and Contributors” featuring Wendy Maa, Ashley Mayor, Christine Yu, Alex Park, and Natalie Lessaris.
Register here.

November 10 – Dr. Sandra L. Osorio will host “Supporting Emergent Bilinguals in Remote Instruction” featuring Carla España, Emma Lewis, Jeanette Delgado, and Lupe Delgado. Register here.

November 11 – Dr. Robyn Seglem will host “Fostering Meaningful Learning Relationships at a Distance” featuring Dr. Antero Garcia, Janelle Henderson, Winnie Nuding, and Brandon Thornton. Register here.

November 16 – Dr. Jay Percell will host “Assessment and Grading in Remote Learning” featuring Starr Sackstein, Aaron Blackwelder, Rae Hughart, and April Sherrman. Register here.

November 18 – Dr. Natalie Shaheen will host “Accessible Learning” featuring Maria (Conchita) Hernandez Legorreta, Treva Olivero, and Lidia-Bella Brazovan. Register here.

November 19 – Dr. Beth Hatt will host “Rethinking Leadership for Equity in Remote Learning” featuring Jorge Sanchez, Cyndy Alvarez, and Kim Taber. Register here.

December 2 – Dr. Allison Kroesch will host the next webinar on “Collaboration with Online Tools” on December 2 at 7 p.m. (CST) with Meenoo Rami, Lauren Alsene, Courtney Pleasent, and Calley Gautschi. Register here.

December 3 – Dr. Pamela Hoff will host “Racism as a Global Pandemic: Dismantling Anti-Black Pedagogy” featuring Dr. Teresa Lawrence, Allania Moore, Tamekia Bailey, and Angela Shamaa. Register here.

Facilitated through Illinois State University’s College of Education, Connecting the DOTS is sponsored by Illinois State University alumni Mary F. English ’68 and Robert J. English ’66, M.B.A. ’67.