Founded in 1887 as a teacher’s college, Troy University has a long history of preparing teachers and equipping them with resources to help them to be successful in the classroom. Now, as the COVID-19 coronavirus has forced the closure of schools, the University’s College of Education is helping teachers adjust to teaching from a distance, while also assisting parents who have now found themselves playing an increased role in their children’s education.
The College of Education, and, in particular, the Department of Teacher Education, has developed a website that offers tips for parents and teachers, while also providing a vast database of online resources that can prove helpful as students adjust to learning at home.
“This an exciting collaborative effort initiated by faculty within the Department of Teacher Education to help parents, educators, and other external stakeholders find ways to support the academic engagement and social well-being children in grades PreK – 12 who must remain home,” said Dr. Dionne Rosser-Mims, the college’s Dean. “I applaud Dr. Jan Oliver for initiating this effort.”
The website, https://www.troy.edu/academics/colleges-schools/education/online-resources-for-teachers-and-parents.html, includes a listing of free online learning platforms and online tools, as well as links to helpful “how-to” articles that provide instruction and suggestions for how to use these platforms in the educational process.
The online database is also divided into grade levels and subjects to help parents and teachers easily find resources, learning tools and activities to fit their students’ needs.
“I have always shared some resources that I think would assist teachers and parents through the College of Education’s Facebook page,” said Dr. Jan Oliver, an Associate Professor who assists with special initiatives of the College. “Once the quarantine started, I would see teachers and parents asking for activities and sites for certain things to be able to help their students online or their children in their home. I started asking for resources that people were willing to share so that I could put them on the College of Education page.”
With the need for resources growing, the College’s leadership decided to pull all resources into a single, easily-accessible location on the TROY website to serve as a community resource hub.
Dr. Oliver sought the help of fellow faculty member, Dr. Shirley Farrell, to gather and organize resources by areas, grade levels and subjects.
“When Dr. Shirley Farrell and I started working on the page, we pulled the resources I had been placing on the COE Facebook page, as well as other resources we gathered from faculty/staff, and organized the resources in a way we felt would be easily accessible for both parents and teachers,” Dr. Oliver said.
As the task grew, faculty members Dr. Eva Marie Kane, Dr. Laura Hodges, and Jessica Moran joined in helping to submit and gather resources.
In addition to the educational resources, the website also offers links to information on managing the emotions and anxiety that accompany the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as social/emotional activities that help students understand what is going on and deal with the changes the virus has brought about, including instructions to help students develop a COVID-19 time capsule.
So far, the collection of resources has garnered positive feedback, Dr. Oliver said.
“Some of our former students have been very appreciative of this project and believe that the resources will be very helpful,” Dr. Oliver said. “One former student even told me how proud she was of TROY for doing this.”