Wildcats’ Journey to Remote Learning in Spring 2020

Spring Quarter 2020 was a learning journey like no other at Northwestern and across the globe. Instructors, students, and staff met an unprecedented challenge of transitioning from face-to-face instruction to a completely remote learning environment, with approximately just two weeks to adjust. While the transition to remote learning presented challenges, it also created a compressed window for the entire University community to bring to bear its best in collaboration, adaptability, and innovation to support Northwestern’s ongoing mission and promise of excellent teaching, innovative research, and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community.

Northwestern units already committed to exceptional standards in supporting instruction across campus took on and met the charge of readying the campus for a rapidly changing new reality. Along with others who deliver instructional support, Northwestern Libraries, the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, and Northwestern Information Technology partnered to deliver immediate solutions to prepare instructors and students with resources, tools, and support to keep teaching and keep learning. The following infographic details the journey of transitioning to and supporting remote instruction this spring and highlights the immense undertaking with hard data.

Wildcats’ Spring 2020 Journey to Remote Learning by the Numbers

Many thanks to Northwestern’s central administrative units and schools for the collective efforts that made the transition to remote learning possible. A portion of the metrics included here reflects data provided by Northwestern IT, University Libraries, Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, and the Office of the Registrar.

  • March 11, the transition to remote learning was announced
  • April 6, was the start of Spring Quarter and the first of 60 days of remote learning
  • 2,020 courses were taught in Spring Quarter, with 3,148 course sites created in Canvas
  • 17,041 students registered for courses, taught by 1,799 instructors
  • 13 programs in the Searle Center cohort learning and teaching programs were transitioned to online formats, supporting 68 faculty, 500 undergraduates, and 98 graduate and postdoctoral trainees
  • University Libraries linked 3,800 articles, book chapters, and digital media to Canvas courses
  • University Libraries, Information Technology, and the Searle Center combined delivered 179 instructor and student workshops to 2,691 registrants and conducted another 1,169 individual consultations
  • The University community hosted 387,766 academic and administrative Zoom sessions, with 2,855,154 participants, connecting from 171 countries over 144,392,660 minutes