Planning for online courses and managing health and wellbeing

As courses continue to be taught remotely, the April edition of Edubytes offers curated articles on effectively planning online courses and supporting the wellbeing and mental health of students and yourselves while teaching online. We’ve included resource pages, practical frameworks, and advice to consider when designing online classes.

Designing online courses

Remote Teaching Institute: resources wiki page

The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology’s Remote Teaching Institute workshop series provides resources aimed to help instructors explore teaching and learning in remote learning spaces. Slides and session recordings from previous sessions are being collected on the UBC wiki for those who were unable to attend the original sessions. Instructors can find additional workshops being offered on the CTLT Remote Teaching Institute website.
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Five principles for making decisions about assessment

The Teaching and Learning Services unit at McGill University highlights five principles, adapted from Brown, S. & Sambell, K. (2020), for instructors who must explore rapid alternatives to face-to-face assessment during this period of disruption. This resource introduces a few example scenarios of how these principles may be applied.
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Designing a community of inquiry in online courses

This article combines the “seven principles of good practice for undergraduate education” (Sorensen & Baylen, 2009) with the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework to collect instructional activities. The extensive list of instructional activities will help online instructors to design and facilitate effective, engaging, and meaningful activities.
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Advice to those about to teach online because of the coronavirus

In this short blog post, Tony Bates provides some pragmatic advice to instructors who are being asked to move their courses online. Drawing on his extensive wealth of experience with online and distance education, Dr. Bates highlights the need for instructors to reach out to institutional support groups to help them to consider choices and to manage the range of technologies available to assist teaching and learning online. He also provides some strategies to adapt approaches for creating materials and engaging students to be actively engaged, while considering the need for instructors to find ways to organize their time and resources to manage the transition to online learning.
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Synchronous online classes: 10 tips for engaging students

Carefully selecting technology and determining when, why and how to choose between synchronous and asynchronous teaching is not an easy task and requires careful planning (see table summary for key considerations). While virtual classes are not without challenges, here are a few suggestions you can take to run class sessions that are energetic, interactive, and productive.
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Digital pedagogy in the humanities

Digital pedagogy in the humanities is a peer-reviewed collection of teaching materials and sample assignments that seeks to answer the question, “what does effective, creative, active, and engaged pedagogy look like in the context of the modern web?” The resources and examples on the website are organized by keywords so that instructors can browse topics of interest such as social justice, text analysis, rhetoric, assessment and annotation. For instructors looking for ideas for digital activities to implement in their courses, the collection provides a wealth of examples to help them get started.
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Don’t panic! The hitch-hiker’s guide to alternative assessment

With the winter exam period over, it is now time to start thinking about summer and fall term assessments. This guide is geared toward helping instructors reconsider how learning outcomes can be achieved through non-examination assessments. The guide describes 12 different assessment techniques to consider as alternatives to traditional exams and also provides advice on how to implement these techniques with tips to ensure clarity for students. The guide also offers suggestions to help you guarantee that your new online assessments are accessible.
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Wellness and mental health while teaching online

What (some) students are saying about the switch to remote teaching and learning

Mining public social media data from Twitter posts shared by thousands of students, George Veletsianos, Royal Roads University, and Royce Kimmons, Brigham Young University, identify a number of insights provided by students who are experiencing the shift to remote teaching first hand. The common points and challenges that emerge from this data provide some timely formative feedback for faculty. They indicate that students value “social engagement, teacher presence, faculty support and care, and faculty familiarity with online learning.”
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Seven big ideas as you shift towards online teaching

This article provides a set of guiding ideas for instructors to consider as they transition their courses to the online environment and emphasizes the need for teachers to shift their mindset from converting to transforming. Many of the approaches focus on participatory pedagogies that leverage the affordances of online spaces. Online spaces can allow students to create and share original content, provide peer feedback and interact collaboratively. The article also invites instructors to be mindful of the student experience and the need to be present and available as a teacher.
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Pivots, pirouettes, and piqués: gracefully managing the anxieties of remote teaching and learning

In this blog post, Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani shares his perspective on the transition to remote teaching during COVID-19, an unplanned pedagogical shift that is causing a lot of anxiety for faculty and students. Dr. Jhangiani reflects on the spring experience and offers some perspective on how to plan for an entire semester online, which requires greater efforts to design effective online experiences and instructional design support.
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Inclusive teaching during COVID-19

The UBC CTLT Inclusive Teaching Website introduces resources for intentional approaches to curriculum, course design, teaching practice, and assessment that create a learning environment where all students feel that their differences are valued and respected. Additionally, in a new Inclusive teaching during COVID-19 section, the site has added links to resources that focus on inclusive and equitable considerations for online teaching so as not to unintentionally reproduce or exacerbate inequities. The new resources include a webinar from Dr. Jessica Calarco, Indiana University, on Bridging the digital divide, teaching for equity and empathy in the wake of COVID-19/a> and Rice University’s guide on Inclusion, equity, and access while teaching remotely.
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Free counselling service launches for BC post-secondary students

The government of British Columbia recently launched a free mental-health counselling and referral service for post-secondary students. The service offers confidential, free single-session services by app, phone or online chat, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. This new service compliments UBC mental health resources, such as the UBC AMS & GSS sponsored Empower Me counselling service. Additional UBC student resources can also be found on the Student Services COVID-19 page.
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