Course Planning

Page updated August 24, 2020.

Academic Excellence, in Any Context

For Fall 2020, our goal is to ensure excellence of our educational offerings, regardless of delivery method, while balancing the health and safety for students, staff, and faculty.

All classes are likely to have some students who will be taking the course remotely. It is imperative that courses be equitable and inclusive around participating in-person versus online.

Course Planning Basics

The College has developed a set of standards and guidelines designed to help professors deliver flexible, high-quality engineering instruction in whatever context conditions warrant.

Course Setup & Structure

  • Organization: Use Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) or another centralized course organization system (e.g., course website)
  • Syllabus: Post a syllabus with the critical information students need to operate in the course.
  • Structure: Set up your course with user-centered navigation and organization that aligns with your syllabus.
  • Accessibility: Make sure your course meets ADA accessibility requirements and minimizes technical requirements.
  • Copyright: Make sure your course materials adhere to rules regarding copyright and third-party materials.

Content, Activities, and Assessments

  • Learning Objectives: Create content, activities, exams, and assessments that align with your learning objectives and are designed for remote delivery.
  • Lecture recordings: Make sure your lecture recordings and other content fulfill basic audio-visual production requirements
  • Experiential Learning: Integrate experiential learning components that are applicable to remote learning.

Engagement & Interactivity

  • Consistency: Maintain consistent faculty presence and interactivity.
  • Engagement: Promote student-student and student-faculty engagement and interactions.

Nexus offers best practices and guidance for remote engagement and interactivity.

Remote Teaching Tips

On campus, students learn about  where to go for help, or how to contact you if you have a question.

In the online space, give students the same direction about how best to reach you if they need help – or where to go if they have questions. Let them know how – and how soon – they should expect a response.

For in-person classes, students know where and what time they need to be in class.

In your online class, do they know what participation you expect from them? Clarity around remote participation, especially live synchronous portions of the course, is important in a remote course.

In-person classes allow students to hear each other’s questions, and allows faculty members to address the topic or clarification for all to hear.

In the online environment, imagine that each online student has that question, and emails you individually for each question or need, or point of clarification. Are there ways to enhance your syllabus to preemptively address those ongoing and recurring questions and expectations in advance? 

Students have adapted to in-person instruction for years.

For some, the transition to online will trigger additional accommodations they may not have previously needed (increased use of screen-readers, captioning, more time for exams, etc). Technology requirements may come with additional technical/bandwidth issues and potential challenges. Communicate course technology requirements in advance, and minimize technology requirements when possible.

For in-person classes, instructors guide and set the agenda of what is being covered for each session.

For online courses, a roadmap should be made equally clear, through course design and navigation, about exactly what to do each session, where to find lectures, how they are progressing toward meeting course expectations, and how to submit assignments.

The more modalities you use (i.e. a website, Canvas, listserv, email) the more likely your students are to misunderstand how and when to receive communication from you.

Giving students one place to navigate course content, information and submissions decreases the number of modalities that they must access, and gives you one place to point all students.

But wait, there’s more!

Find more tips like these on the Nexus Faculty Resources page or schedule a One-on-One Consultation.