Where to Begin

It’s worth taking a moment to think about your course as it stands right now. You’ll need to think carefully about what content still needs to be delivered in your courses, and what you can let go of. Robin DeRosa’s “Rule of 2” exercise is an excellent resource for rethinking the rest of this semester, because it asks you to prioritize the teaching goals.

Most online learning is delivered asynchronously (eg. “not live”), and we recommend the same during this period of campus closure. Many students will have other responsibilities and internet connectivity varies widely in our region. Consider posting small, screen reader-friendly files (DOC / PPT) and minimizing use of video, especially as the exclusive way to communicate information. Hybrid Pedagogy includes a great explanation of why learning doesn’t have to be synchronous.

Our friends at Brock University are encouraging faculty to take a re-weight, re-design, digitize approach when determining what needs to be reproduced in the online space. We’ve adapted the idea for TRU’s context here:

  • Re-weight. Have you already met the learning objectives in the course? If so, perhaps consider re-weighting the semester and letting the course stand, or providing one more assignment option for students who would like to boost their grade.
  • Re-design. If there remains content to be presented or assessments that students must still undertake in order to achieve the course learning objectives, consider how to present them in a digital context on short notice. It is unlikely that all of your students will be able to connect to watch your lectures in real time over videoconference, so this won’t be a business-as-usual classroom lecture. Consider stripping back to the key components and relying on reflective writing or group discussions to demonstrate learning.
  • Digitize. Given the constraints, we will not be able to provide an invigilated final exam setting, so digitizing final assessments where necessary will require some work. Consider open-book assessments and delivering final “take home”-style exams through the Moodle assignment tool.

Here’s what that might look like in a TRU context:

A graphic version of the text articulated above.