November 2020

The page features CELT Notes sent to Luther faculty members during the academic year 2020 - 2021.


20. November 2020

Good morning, 

Judging from my email inbox this week, many of you have turned your attention to redesigning your courses for Q2. I'm sure a lot of you are exactly where I am -- furiously grading your Q1 class, so you can turn your attention to Q2.

CELT Website - Q2 Resources.
Resources for Q2 are populating the CELT site. I want to bring special attention to three sections.

Q2 Resources : This framing page offers some thoughts about how Q2 will be different from Spring 2020 and outlines lessons learned from both that "lifeboat teaching" semester and Quarter 1. Students had two major pieces of advice for us as we build our Q2 classes. 

Q1 Student Feedback - These class blocks are really long.
Students were very clear in their feedback that two hours is a really long time to spend sitting in one place, doing the same thing. Three hours was near impossible. We need to plan for this to be exacerbated in the online environment and plan for ways to break our longer classes into sections to maximize student learning. Even building in two, ten minute "bio breaks" can make a huge difference. For more, consult the resource page 
Balancing Asynchronous and Synchronous Learning

Q1 Student Feedback - It was difficult to process and retain a semester's worth of material in a quarter.
I do wonder if this concern has as much to do with our framing of the quarter (and our own exhaustion!) as it does with actual student difficulty, but it is clear that the workload for some students was almost unmanageable. There are many courses where that may very well be just how it is, but for the rest of us, now is a good time to really examine our courses and see where we might streamline things in response to this challenging environment. 

  • Examine your learning goals for your class. What do you REALLY want your students to be able to do when they complete your course?
  • Pare down non-essential content and assignments that do not directly contribute to those learning goals.
  • Take a look at your pared down syllabus and pare down (again) all non-essential content and assignments
  • Build in frequent low-stakes assessment so students have a sense of how well they are doing in class
  • Support them with in-class work time (when appropriate). Bonus - they have you nearby for feedback and clarification. 
  • Just tell them that they are doing a really good job. It is not easy just getting out of bed and going to school in the middle of a pandemic. Celebrate the wins when you see them. 

For more check out the Backwards Design resource page.

Mini Course Redesign Workshop

On Monday and Tuesday of next week (November 23 and 24) we'll be running two sessions of Mini-Course Redesign Workshops. These two-day, two-hour workshops will lead you through the basics of course redesign for an online environment, using principles of Backwards Design. We'll model best practices, collaborate, peer review, and maybe even begin building Katie pages.

Sign up for the morning session (9:00 to 11:00 am) here.

Sign up for the afternoon session (3 pm to 5pm ) here

Check out our new Video Series Small Teaching/Big Learning.
We are recording a series of Zoom conversations with faculty who have discovered a little teaching hack or a promising assignment that might help others. Check it out here. Do you have your own contribution? Email Kate and we'll schedule a 10 minute conversation. 

It is easy to get overwhelmed. Here is a one-stop resource
I'm sure it doesn't surprise anyone that Harvard's Academic Teaching and Learning Centers are the Gold Standard for Faculty Development. They have put together an incredible resource for their instructors on Best Practices: Online Pedagogy. Be forewarned. We can't do everything from an IT side that they are doing at Harvard, (and our LMS is Moodle, not Canvas) but you'll find that your basic questions can be answered here. If there is anything you'd like to know more about, please email Kate.