Transitioning from the usual mode of in-person teaching to hybrid or fully remote teaching requires incorporating some unfamiliar resources used in remote teaching with familiar resources used in teaching face to face. Strategies offers ideas for designing and organizing courses that use hybrid approaches for teaching and learning. Strategies does not offer a set of unitary best practices, because the characteristics of courses that transition from an in-person to hybrid or fully remote mode will differ greatly among the offerings of 300 different faculty whose decisions about course design will best fit the goals of their own specific courses. Instead, Strategies offers different approaches to consider that have been previously used successfully to design and organize one type of course or another.
Strategies offers Try This if-you-like-it ideas, some of which come from faculty and student experiences with remote teaching in the spring 2020 semester. Below each Try This section you’ll find a list of Resources that link to specific exercises or tools, useful information, and further reading regarding the effectiveness of various strategies (including some “best practices”) for course design and organization. The different components of Strategies address important issues of course design, ranging from building a sense of community, to ensuring equity in accessibility, to assessment techniques, to designing performance or laboratory assignments, and more.
There are several exceptional challenges that faculty will confront when designing a course that is expected to transition from fully in person or hybrid (in person plus remote) to fully remote: Although Thanksgiving is the target for a move to a fully remote mode, the actual date of that transition may be earlier. If the date of that transition occurs rather suddenly, faculty will have very little time (days, not weeks) to inform students of the changes to course format and expectations. That predicament requires that the initial course design and organization anticipate a specific plan for the transition that will occur at Thanksgiving, if we are lucky, and a provisional plan for a transition that may arrive as an earlier, unwelcome surprise. Faculty should expect to provide a revised course syllabus that includes detailed and clear expectations for the remote learning mode of the course moving forward. As you design your courses over the summer, keep in mind that disruption is inevitable. Plan for it. Having some Strategies up your sleeve can help.