George Mason University


News at Mason

Behind the scenes at #DoYourPartMason

November 20, 2020

Many at George Mason University contributed to the safe return to campus. Some, though, have flown under the radar.

Ala Showers
Instructional Designer

When Mason pivoted to online learning because of COVID-19, Showers led the way in getting classes into the virtual space, starting with her course-design support for Mason Korea.

Showers also built the Stearns Center Blackboard template that helped faculty get their classes online quickly. She also was instrumental (in collaboration with Larisa Olesova, a fellow senior instructional designer) in producing another iteration of the template used for training and the interactive lessons of the Online Course Design Primer that helped faculty navigate a new way of teaching.

“The sense of pride is that people who were not excited about online learning gave it a try and realized the benefits,” Showers said.

That evolution continues.

As Showers said, “Our faculty survived, they learned the basics. Now they are asking: How do I engage my students? I want interactive video. I want scenario-based learning.”

“They have seen the benefits of combining the pedagogy and technology,” she said. “It has helped them achieve their outcomes in spite of the COVID challenges, and that is an exciting moment that will hopefully lead to a long-term campus-wide adaptation of innovative technologies for teaching in all modalities.”