**FILE** The Career Optimism Index study was conducted by the University of Phoenix Career Institute, a newly established center within the University's College of Doctoral Studies that is focused on studying American workforce dynamics to inform societal solutions that spur career growth. (Courtesy of phoenix.edu)
**FILE** The Career Optimism Index study was conducted by the University of Phoenix Career Institute, a newly established center within the University's College of Doctoral Studies that is focused on studying American workforce dynamics to inform societal solutions that spur career growth. (Courtesy of phoenix.edu)

The University of Phoenix acted fast when COVID-19 began to spread across the United States in mid-March. From April through June, the university offered for free a curated set of courses from its College of Education to teachers in the K-12 and higher education community about how to teach in a virtual environment. The school saw more than 43,000 visits to the course landing page, and nearly 4,000 enrollments into the eight free courses.
Also, as part of its COVID-19 response, the university partnered with online education technology platform Blackboard to form The Alliance for Virtual Learning, a collective of leading experts with a mission of helping educators create a blueprint for the future of virtual education. The Alliance launched a Virtual Teaching Academy in early summer, which included a series of free online interactive events designed to help teachers and administrators adapt to the new virtual learning landscape for the 2020-2021 school year. The Academy, which ran June 26 through July 1, 2020, had 5,940 total registrations. The event also earned over 3,000 earned media placements with almost 600 million positive media impressions. The recorded Academy sessions now live on a microsite and the university has sent the link to 200,000 teachers nationwide to extend the reach of these pivotal webinars, as teachers and school administrators head into the new school year.

In terms of support for the university’s students and employees, the university quickly moved to work from home in mid-March, when the World Health Organization declared the pandemic. University students attending courses on one of our campuses were moved to the online learning environment over a weekend and the transition has gone extraordinarily smoothly, due to the university’s deep experience and expertise in virtual earning. Currently, employees continue to work from home, and students continue in the online environment. A special microsite went live for the university’s stakeholders in mid-March and continues to serve as central source of information about the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the university did its part to bridge the technology gap by donating 200 refurbished computers to students on a first-come basis, so they could access the technology necessary to progress in their degree programs during the pandemic.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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