How we’re thinking big in the virtual learning environment

Creating a 24/7 learning environment has been a University priority for a decade. The arrival of COVID-19 in March only accelerated our pace, and we continue to examine how best to deliver rich, satisfying, and diverse academic experiences online.

Here’s how we’re thinking big for fall:

Technology-enriched learning will expand your academic experience.

We know that no two students learn in exactly the same way. Virtual learning addresses different learning styles and:

  • Offers you opportunities to develop new skills and to show your professors the scope of your unique abilities.
  • Allows you to play to your strengths through agile technology — making course material more meaningful to you.

You’ll be training for the 21st century workplace.

Theresa Brown ’21

Online learning offers you the same course content while preparing you for a world where your ability to pivot and work independently will be in high demand. Nursing major Emily Folan ’22 believes it has helped her become a better student and thinker. “Online learning develops your independence, work ethic, and time-management skills.”

Journalism major Theresa Brown ’21 says pivoting to an online format for her journalism class last spring showed her how the pros do it.

“I was doing what I saw famous journalists like Anderson Cooper doing,” Brown says. “For the first time, it felt like I was out in the real world, getting to do what I’ve wished for for so long.”

You’ll benefit from our new technology.

Online/blended courses are designed to enhance your academic experience. What you’ll see this year:

  • Lecture-streaming capacity in your classrooms.
  • Video conferencing.
  • A new learning-management system.
  • Software enabling live sessions online and recording of mini-lectures.

You’ll learn your way.

Monifa Akowe Halsey ’22

Research says blended/online learning has a positive impact on efficiency, convenience, and learning styles. The benefits:

  • Have better access to your professors.
  • Work at your own pace.
  • Maximize your time.

Monifa Akowe Halsey ’22, a student and content strategist who works in URI’s Office of Community, Equity and Diversity, says blended learning enables her to manage a packed work schedule. “I really like remote learning because it’s like, Okay, I can do it at my leisure, at my flexibility. I’m not as pressed to do it on someone else’s time,” Halsey says.

Our faculty is well prepared to teach in the virtual environment.

Technology-enriched learning is not new to URI faculty. In fact:

  • Many faculty members have undergone in-depth training to ensure you have the benefit of a superior technology-enhanced learning environment and online course experience.
  • URI is the only institution of higher learning in Rhode Island to receive a Tier 1 designation from Educate to Career for having the systems required to deliver its full curriculum online and in-classroom.

You’ll build your community.

Your URI experience goes beyond the classroom, and we know it’s more important than ever for you to find your people. What we have planned:

  • Blended/online events and programs designed to bring you together with others.
  • Clubs, organizations, fitness opportunities, and Campus Recreation-sponsored activities.

You have what it takes.

Mollie Melnick ’23

URI students are resilient, says Mollie Melnick ’23, political science major. “Things might look different than what you’re used to, but you have to just kind of move with what’s happening and understand that this isn’t permanent,” Melnick says. “It’s a little scary, but we’re all gonna get through it together.

“And that’s the most important thing.”