Fall 2020 Planning Guide
The resources found on this page will support you in planning for your Fall courses so that regardless of the delivery mode in which you teach, you’ll be able to continue teaching smoothly and successfully. This guidance, in addition to faculty workshops and one-on-one training, should leave you prepared for academic disruptions at all scales.
To expand the sections below, click the down arrow next to the section title.
Before you begin, we also strongly suggest you read this article titled, "The Single Most Essential Requirement in Designing Fall Courses".
These courses should be developed using online pedagogy (not remote-teaching design). Instructors teaching these courses should participate in the Online Learning Team's "Online Teaching" course, which assists with understanding core online concepts and also designing a fully functional course in the LMS. Teaching a fully online course can often involve substantially more work for faculty. Courses should be dynamic and rich in content with frequent instructor-to-student interactions.
Some courses will be taught solely on-the-ground (lab courses, music instruction, for example). Even these courses should consider the flexible course elements section below and be prepared for any course/campus disruptions.
Hybrid Courses/Modified Tutorial Models
Hybrid courses mix online elements with face-to-face instruction. For example, a course's lecture material may be delivered virtually at the course time (e.g., Monday at 1:30pm) or pre-recorded and uploaded to the LMS for review. The class would then meet on Wednesday/Friday for activities and/or discussion related to the class material. These courses are not the same as hyflex courses and require student participation in the classroom on specified days.
Modified Tutorial Models are very similar to hybrid courses, but may use small group meetings instead of entire group sessions. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education:
"How might a Modified Tutorial Model work? One approach would be to flip the classroom. Lectures or didactic material could be delivered online asynchronously. Faculty or teaching assistants could then meet with their students in small groups. The smaller the groups, the better the experience would likely be for the students. Another approach, perhaps for smaller, discussion-based classes, would be to run the entire class as a small tutorial. Instead of one 18-person class meeting three times a week, the faculty member might meet in small groups of, say, six students once a week. Or perhaps even more often for shorter periods of time. The goal would not be to divide the scheduled in-class time into equal parts based on the number of small groups, but to rethink the class time to encourage deeper engagement and more meaningful community building."
or "Perhaps a more engaging approach, though, would be to involve students in the courses in facilitating tutorial sessions. Students could be asked to prepare discussion prompts, meet with their peers and participate in class in new and dynamic ways. Students running a tutorial in any given week might have an extended discussion session with the faculty member to help them prepare. As almost any faculty member will acknowledge, we tend to learn more about something when we have to teach it. A Modified Tutorial Model lends itself to project-based learning extremely well, where students could be asked to take on different roles as projects evolve."
Hyflex (highly flexible) courses are a mix of online and on-campus elements, but are not the same design as hybrid courses. In these courses, students are given flexibility in attending class in person or accessing the course material virtually. A faculty member may meet with the class live and stream and/or record the course session for students who choose to stay home.
These courses are not meant to be "online courses". There is some expectation that students will attend at least some course sessions. Also, for these courses to work well, there is a technology requirement. Faculty either need to be in a set-up classroom or have access to a very good microphone and camera. Courses that are streamed using Zoom may also still involve engagement of students watching live.
The student may not always have ultimate decision over which sessions to attend (although there will be greater flexibility in attendance for sick students). According to the Chronicle of Higher Education,
"A professor might divide her class up into groups, with each group switching (or rotating, if there are more than two groups) between face-to-face and online instruction. Students might be given the opportunity to sign up for residential learning slots for each class session, up until the “safe” number of in-person spaces is taken. Or, in-class slots could be assigned randomly or prioritized along dimensions of student need."
"Participation in class is necessary regardless of where and how students attend. Online is not meant to be a diminished experience but an alternative. Class sessions are not meant to be passive observations of a class video stream, but rather to have fully interactive engagements, including Q&A, group work (if possible) and student presentations."
To be flexible in your course design, it's best to create modular course components that are reusable across teaching formats. You are likely teaching in one of three format this Fall - online only, on-campus only, or hybrid/hyflex. All courses still need to prepare for uncertainty and be designed with discipline best practices at the forefront of design. There are several parts of your course that can be prioritized and used regardless of instruction mode.
The following are useful to build ahead for flexibility in teaching modes:
- Syllabus and other introduction to the course content: Instructors need to have their syllabus available on LORA and within the LMS. See here for an online course template and here for the Loyola general syllabus template. Faculty also need to keep an up-to-date gradebook in the LMS. Doing so ensures that students can track their success, but also that another faculty member could take over a course more easily. You may also want to prepare weekly learning plans or other guiding documents for students. You may need to adjust some of these materials if and when teaching modes shift, but the core stays the same.
- Assignment instructions: Digital copies of instructions are helpful for students to have in any mode. Students can refer to them from anywhere. Pre-writing these gives you the opportunity to seek feedback from others on the clarity of the instructions.
- Quizzes and exams: You can have a digitally-delivered quiz/exam regardless of teaching mode. The benefit is that questions with a defined answer can be graded automatically. There are several methods for designing these with academic integrity in mind.
- Presentations with lecture notes: Can be used as the original file for student self-study or review, for an instructor giving a face-to-face lecture, or as material for making pre-recorded video.
- Pre-recorded video: Can be used for online courses as core course material. Video can be used in a face-to-face class as required homework (a form of a “class reading”) that frees up time for a more hands-on activity to take place during class time.