Because of Covid-19, we must adapt in ways that we’ve never been asked to before. One of those ways in online or remote learning. To be frank, many of us know what we’re doing, but we’re in this together. And in the name of solidarity, here are some tips, collected from the internet and from fellow multi-modal instructors, to help you in designing your own remote learning course:
- Adapt and/or re-use the materials provided for you. There are a lot of resources in the EWP archives, website, and from different universities; resources like, syllabi, lesson plans, rubrics, etc. You don’t have to stress so much about creating something new when you can use artifacts that have already been tested and revised for multimodal and/or remote classrooms. Although adapting materials can feel like a chore in and of itself, it can still save you some time and may relieve some “is this going to work/ make sense” anxieties.
- 2. Re-think control. Remote learning gives students the opportunity to lead and drive themselves, as well as hold themselves accountable. Although you may hear some say that remote learning can lead to apathy, it can also lead to trust and confidence that students are able to learn and develop skills in a more flexible manner. So relax! Just because you don’t see your students every day, doesn’t mean they aren’t learning. When re-using and developing materials, think about redesigning to learner-navigated activities while continuing to keep in mind the learning goals of the materials.
- Keep in mind accessibility by using captions, sound quality, words that can be seen clearly on PowerPoint, and direct links. There is an accessibility check available at UW and on canvas. Zoom and Panopto have amazing tools like adding captions and providing a transcript, you just have to adjust in your settings page. Also canvas has a mini-course you can take called Teaching with UW technologies, consider signing up so that you can learn more fluidly how to use these resources for increased accessibility. It’s also a good idea to test your technology equipment before class session to make sure it’s accessible.
- Be adventurous with activities. Remote learning doesn’t have to be limiting at all! In fact, it can be the opposite. There are many platforms designed for remote collaborations, like google docs and social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, even Spotify. Also consider how they can obtain the learning objective in their kitchen or backyard. Rather than conversations with their classroom peers, how might they engage and learn with socially distant community or familial dialogues?
- Pro and con synchronous, asynchronous, or hybrity course. Deciding on whether to be fully asynchronous or synchronous, or a mixture of both, might depend on the types of learners in your class and who you are as a teacher. Ask your students how they learn best before or on the first day of class. And also ask yourself what makes you comfortable and confident as an instructor. You may find that a hybrid model might be best, or perhaps one where you have asynchronous activities and communal, synchronous, optional office hours. Beyond access needs, time difference may also determine whether to have an async or sync class. If time differences in your class are wide-ranging, this might be the biggest argument for pro-async class. However, if students need social learning, consider encouraging students to group themselves, or you organize groups, based on time zones; they can decide on optimal times to meet synchronously. Ultimately, these two models allow for different ways of engagement in remote learning. Synchronous learning gives ways to some form of traditional classroom engagement, discussions include immediate feedback and conversation, and technical difficulties might be felt harder. Asynchronous gives way to more flexibility regarding pacing, time scheduling; students often navigate and guide themselves; technical difficulties are less noticeable; and it could lead towards isolated feelings.
— B. Frantece