Insights on Designing Flexible Courses [video]

min read

How can instructors use Zoom as more than just a stopgap tool for remote instruction? Stephanie Moore offers insights about engaging students in ways that encourage active learning.

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Stephanie Moore
Assistant Professor, Organization, Information and Learning Sciences
The University of New Mexico

Moore: What I'm seeing more and hearing more in the trenches is a lot of fatigue from instructors, because, you know, instructors feel like they're being asked to design what we call emergency remote teaching versus truly developing like a meaningful online learning experience.

How do I design online learning so that it's more interactive, and it's more student-centered? At first, I think everybody just focused on, oh my goodness, I need to get my content out there. And Zoom was a quick and efficient way to do that. But one of the things that online learning, and especially like LMSs are really good at is automating content delivery. So that instead of us as instructors spending all of our time, just delivering content, we can actually record that, let the LMS, you know, deliver that asynchronously for us, and then that frees up my time with my students not to lecture at them, but to really spend more time like working on a design project with them, brainstorming that through. Because when you stop thinking about technology and online like Zoom as a stop-gap measure, then you can start to move into really meaningful problem solving.

Our predominant paradigm for how we are thinking, and planning, and designing courses should be centered around flexibility. Instead of students having to join for say a two hour, three hour window during the week, which this begins to add up across courses, that that flipped model can really be helpful in this idea of flexibility, and then maybe participate in asynchronous discussions or, you know, activities, collaborating with peers either in the LMS or in Google Docs, and then create optional live sessions that are really much more focused on community, support, engagement, like asking questions, being available for students.

I designed my own courses to actually be almost entirely asynchronous. So, because you know, our learners really need that flexibility that adaptability, we keep them on the same pace, the same schedule week to week. But within the week, and how they complete things is more flexible for them.