1 Getting started

To begin, gather information about the students in your course. Here are two main areas to consider before getting started with the design.

Who are the students?

Start by identifying what the students:

  • Should already know (e.g., prior course knowledge)
  • Have in terms of access to technological tools (e.g., do they have earphones, do they have a smartphone with a camera that works?), ideally by asking them
  • Have experience with a university course (e.g., first year versus fourth year students), ideally by asking them

These will become considerations as you make decisions in the course. For most students, the answers to these questions will likely be as expected, but sometimes surprises arise. These include the students who would come and speak with you on the first day and ask you about particular accommodations. Remember that they cannot do this as easily under these new circumstances. Their voices may effectively be silenced by circumstances. Asking some questions at the outset will help you avoid pitfalls that could exclude some students, who may not communicate with you if there is a concern or a gap.

How could students help?

Students can be involved in many ways. For example:

  1. Through questionnaires you can ask for their opinions and experiences before, during, and at the end of a course. There are examples here of Google Drive that can be adapted; the examples provided can be copied and modified for your own purpose.
  2. Students can help create course content (e.g., videos, problem-sets) as teacher assistants, volunteers, or in other roles.

To go deeper

Reflecting on your teaching

BCcampus has created resource materials for educators around a variety of topics of practice, including Open Education, Indigenization, Educational Technology and Learning + Teaching. They also offer relevant workshops and events. You can look at their calendar for current events, as well as watch archives of past events, many of which are related to the challenges of Covid-19.

The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching offers many workshops. You can consult the calendar on their website to see current offerings.

The Learning Technology and Innovation Group is also offering Learning Technology Workshops. Learn more by consulting their calendar.

The Instructional Design Team is available for one on one consultations by emailing learningdesign@tru.ca

eCampusOntario developed a program called Ontario Extend, a professional learning program that “aims to empower educators to explore a range of emerging technologies and pedagogical practices for effective online and technology-enabled teaching and learning.”

Up next

In the next chapters, we will address how:

  • To identify the course’s essential learning outcomes (or topics)
  • To design for the online environment
  • To develop learning activities
  • To create and share content
  • To assess students
  • To communicate and facilitate learning
  • To build community
  • To foster a culture of care
  • To help students become effective online learners
  • To use Moodle
  • To find help and advice