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WGU Webinars Academic engagement.

Upcoming academic engagement webinars.

Modifying student teaching experiences for online and distance instruction in the COVID-19 era.

As school districts across the country began closing and shifting to digital instruction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of future P–12 educators who must complete Preclinical Experiences and Student Teaching were impacted and unsure how they would fulfill their in-person requirements as they work toward teacher licensure. With each state issuing their own closure timelines, guidelines of programs and licensure requirements, and no prior precedent in responding to a crisis of this magnitude, a scaled response was daunting.

WGU’s Teachers College prepares educators for licensure in all 50 states and through swift modifications to program and graduation requirements and adaptions to Preclinical Experiences and Student Teaching, was able to ensure no student placements were canceled. In this free webinar you’ll hear from our panelists about:

  • Ensuring students had pathways to continue on their journey toward graduation and licensure.
  • Responding to differing state regulatory bodies and requirements for Educator Preparation Programs. 
  • Keeping students in Preclinical Experiences and Student Teaching on track during Spring 2020.

Can’t make it? Still sign up! We will be sending out the presentation after to all registrants. The recording of the webinar will be available on this page after the event. 

Webinar details:

Date: Thursday, May 28, 2020

Time: 10 am, MDT

Location: Webinar details and the link to join WebEx will be provided via email after registering. 

About our WGU panelists.

  • Aaron Popham, Interim Dean of Teachers College
  • Verna Lowe, Senior Manager Compliance of Educator Preparation
  • Robert Hall, Program Chair for Professional Core and Clinical Experiences
  • Carrie Pottinger, Senior Manager of Field Experience

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Previous webinars.

Tips for working from home while educating your children.

In this free webinar, a panel of WGU professionals discussed tips for working from home while educating your children. The panel shared experiences and tips on how you can make the most of working from home while managing their children’s education schedule. From setting a designated work schedule for you, and education schedule for your kids, to sharing your availability with your work team, the panel provided insights on how to effectively manage both responsibilities. 

To listen to the recorded webinar:

Popular webinar Q&As.

The shift to online education via homeschooling, while rapid and disruptive, has shown the advantages and disadvantages of educating children from home. It is hard to solidify a definite answer on whether P-12 education should move completely online. On-ground, face-to-face P-12 education offers more than just instruction and engages children in socialization, physical education, arts education, social work and support, and special needs support among other services that online education may not be able to provide. Online education, in isolation, may be challenged to incorporate these kinds of support and enrichment that families and communities rely on their local schools to offer. While online education and homeschooling may have some hurdles to clear, it does bring about the potential need to hybridize education through online and face-to-face interactions and learning opportunities. 

There is not a simple answer because it is answered on an individualized basis, but the COVID reality of schooling from home may have opened opportunities for some families while closing opportunities for others. Some families may choose to have one adult remain at home to keep educating their children after schools re-open. There may even be an increase in the number of adults seeking to enter the remote workforce in order to continue homeschooling their children. It depends on the individual family situation. 

Embracing and planning for online learning.

Despite the unanticipated and rapid transition to digital learning, the goal among institutions remains the same—to keep students on track in their academic journey and ensure they continue learning with limited disruption. Embracing the unexpected shift to online instruction is key to student success. Faculty preparedness, planning, flexibility, and adaptability play central roles in helping students reach their goals.   

In this free webinar, join WGU’s Vice President of Design and Development, Joann Kozyrev, to learn how to embrace the digital realm as you prepare and plan course content for online instruction. Key takeaways from the webinar include:

  • Five essential considerations that all faculty should keep in mind when moving to online instruction.
  • An action plan to move face-to-face instruction online, based on how much time you have to plan.
  • Considerations on how accessibility and accommodations are altered in an online environment.

Download the webinar deck in PDF >

Joann Kozyrev

About Joann Kozyrev.

Joann Kozyrev serves as Vice President of Design and Development at WGU and is an accomplished educational program, content, and experience developer for higher education. She has worked across both publishing and university contexts, leading the development of innovative programming for multiple disciplines and markets. Joann is extremely experienced in developing tech solutions for complex learning environments. She is also adept at budgeting for cost-conscious innovation and has vast experience in partnering for success with a wide range of third-party vendors.

To view the recorded webinar:

Popular webinar Q&As.

WGU does not endorse any particular tool. Tools that may be useful in creating mind maps include Bubbl, Mindmap, Cogle, and Mindmeister. Simple tools such as a whiteboard tool, a Google slide, and text boxes can be used to create mind maps as well. 

At WGU, students have access to peer-to-peer support and IT support 24/7. Additionally, students complete an orientation on using technology to better understand how instruction will be delivered. Instructors should also be familiar with resources that are available like tutorials that can be shared with students.

WGU does not endorse any particular tool. Some helpful resources include HeyTeach, WGU’s own site for teachers, Digital Promise micro-credentials, ISTE (International Society for Technology Education), and EDUCause. 

Open communication and flexibility are key. Become familiar with the course and the technology utilized by the online platforms so that you can make suggestions and offer options. For example, many eBook platforms and LMSs have a “Read Aloud” feature that can be helpful to students with certain disabilities. If videos are utilized, ensure the video has captions available. Provide an avenue for the student to set up one-on-one time if needed. And finally, provide choices. Choices make it possible for students with disabilities to obtain the information they need and to display their own knowledge in ways that make them feel comfortable and confident.

The best advice is to think about what we (and especially our students) find engaging in other spaces of our online lives. We use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook asynchronously and consume it when we have time and interest. We turn to FAQs when we have a “dumb” question that we suspect others have asked before. We receive “personal” messages from companies we engage with as a response to some action we have taken such as making a purchase or filing a complaint. We know that these were written in advance, but because the information is timely, it is comforting to know that the actions we have taken have landed where they should.

We can take these cues as ways to connect with learners and engage, inform, amuse, reassure, goad, provoke, and inspire them. And just like other channels, online have a certain tone. Instructors can decide to be humorous, brief, intellectually provocative, or otherwise, letting their personalities shine. It’s the online equivalent of deciding which comics, quotes, and articles to post on your office door.

How to help students succeed.

The rapid closures of campuses and in-person classes amid COVID-19 brought about one of the most important considerations in higher education—how to maintain student success in an online environment.

In this free webinar, Debbie Fowler, WGU’s Senior Vice President of Student Success, shares several methods used by WGU to provide student support in the online environment. Based on 23 years of research and implementation, the WGU methods shared will provide colleges and universities with a foundation in online student support that can be quickly implemented to improve student success.

Download the webinar deck in PDF >

About Debbie Fowler.

Debbie Fowler serves at WGU’s Senior Vice President of Student Success. She leads close to 2,500 employees to support students and colleagues with an array of services that drive student success across the student lifecycle. In addition to academic operations, Debbie and her team are accountable for cross-functional efforts like learner-centered faculty, admissions standards, student readiness and learner profiles, environmental barriers, and social and emotional learning (SEL).  

Debbie holds a J.D. from the University of San Diego and a bachelor's degree in mathematical science and economics from Rice University.

To view the recorded webinar:

Popular webinar Q&As.

Program mentors are subject matter experts at the program level and work with students from enrollment through graduation. Mentors check-in calls are typically weekly or bi-weekly conversations with students. These calls are part of the normal academic planning with students. The best practices of check-in calls include not only the personal conversation about how things are going, but also what has been accomplished since the last check in.  

Some questions that can be asked are what academic goals does the student have and what are their plans for the immediate coming week or two until the next check in.

To learn more about WGU’s faculty model and program mentors, visit WGU's faculty page.

Communications with students need to be continuous and frequent. First, establish a routine whether that is a weekly or bi-weekly communication. Setting expectations upfront with your students about how and when they can expect to hear from you is key. At WGU, students are expected to be in weekly communication with their mentor to start and can later adapt the cadence of their check-ins to better fit their needs. 

Another important step is learning to become a partner with the student and understanding the role of mentoring throughout the program. Creating an atmosphere of trust and transparency is paramount.

To learn more about WGU’s student experience, visit our student experience page.

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