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[Spring Workshop 2022] Designing for Flexibility in Online Courses

May 27, 11:15 – 12:00

Session Description

How do we design online courses with flexibility in mind? What changes are required when considering various delivery modes (synchronous, asynchronous, blended, etc.), lengths (condensed 6-week, micro-courses), or student demographics (adult learners, international students, etc.)?

Aiming to remove barriers to learning, Trinity Western University has expanded its online learning programs globally and domestically with key tenants in mind. First, we recognize the future of higher education requires integrating technology, facilitation support, and coaching for students. Second, we apply adaptive pedagogies that utilize technology, collaborative learning, and content contextualization in order to help learners better understand course content and achieve success. Finally, we design our online courses using a FAIR model: Flexible, Accessible, Informed, and Responsive – with the learner at the centre.

As we design our courses for flexibility, we consider the needs of the learners, such as using accessible resources, providing asynchronous options to engage with the course content and others, and facilitating learning activities to scaffold learning. Flexibility is significant for faculty as well. Instructors want to personalize their content, add resources to support students, and modify assignments and activities where appropriate.

In this session we will share how to design flexible courses to meet the needs of learners and instructors in a variety of contexts. We will highlight key design decisions that are impacted by course modality, lengths, and student demographics.

In addition, we will ask participants to share their experiences and suggestions for flexible design, particularly as it relates to assessment, course resources, and learning activities.

We hope participants will come away with new design ideas and rich discussions on adaptive pedagogies.

Recording and Materials