This collection of technological tips, instructional strategies, and sample assignments and activities was designed by Open Society University Network (OSUN) faculty. Whether working online, in person, or in a blended context, central to all of these practices is establishing a clear and consistent communication plan with your students.
OSUN Connected and Blended Learning Toolkit
Placing Liberal Arts Pedagogies Front and Center
The OSUN Connected and Blended Learning Toolkit, developed by the Center for Learning in Practice (CLiP) at the Carey Institute for Global Good in collaboration with the Open Society University Network and Bard College, is a living document that is open and accessible to faculty across the network, offering support for connected and blended course development.
1. How do I transfer seminar-style teaching practices into an online environment?
Seminars are often associated with intimate, in-person classes. What follows is a list of a range of different possible activities that one might use in an in-person seminar, with approaches intended to offer options for replicating these activities online.
Engage the Essay-Writing Process
2. How do I build and maintain a sense of community in my online course?
It is extremely important that students have the sense of being part of a class community, even if that community exists solely online. The activities that follow represent different approaches to creating a learning community online that is sustained throughout the entirety of the course and hopefully beyond. These approaches aim to help to support initial cohort building, as well as offer practices to use in blended contexts.
3. How do I keep students engaged when they are not gathering each week?
Engaging in online learning is a very different experience from in person, seminar-style classes. Many students might initially struggle to adjust. What follows are some suggestions for how to help students as they move online, and identify the kind of engagement (synchronous or asynchronous) that works best with the student’s situation.
4. How do I use writing for remote learning?
Writing-based teaching practices work particularly well in online and remote learning contexts—they offer ways for all students to engage that can be done synchronously (in real-time) or asynchronously (at the student’s own pace). Writing also invites quieter students to engage in ways other than speaking, and invites collaboration between small and large groups.
5. How do I deliver an engaging online session?
Online courses can use many of the same strategies that in person classes use to keep students engaged. Guest speakers can be invited to join via video conferencing synchronously. Students can also replicate the same formal structures (i.e. hand raising) of the in-person classroom environment. Student interaction with speakers can also be encouraged via submitting questions and comments ahead of time or using chat features.
6. How do I share course content online?
Designing an online course is normally a detailed process that takes a lot of instructional design and planning. When shifting to online learning mid semester, many faculty opt to record or pre-record lectures (video or audio), and use online apps to replicate the classroom blackboard or whiteboard.
7. How do I structure low-tech assignments for remote teaching?
Teaching online does not necessarily mean that one needs to use a range of technically complex teaching tools. There are many low-tech, creative options that invite students to engage meaningfully in course content whatever the topic or field.
8. How can I teach effectively using different online platforms?
Navigating and exploring the many online platforms available and selecting which one works best for your class can be more overwhelming than the platform itself. What follows are video tutorials that aim to provide quick “how to" guides for specific tools and functions.
9. How do I teach remotely in the arts?
Remote and online learning can seem daunting in the context of the practicing and performing arts which rely heavily on embodied practice. There are strategies that take advantage of digital tools in order to expand how studio- related work can be translated online in a way that is productive for students. This includes collaborative visual projects, discussions of filmed works, and assignments intended to focus on specific techniques.
10. How do I teach remotely in STEM?
Teaching remotely in STEM offers the added benefit of virtual labs and simulations, enabling students to have the opportunity to problem-solve and experiment as they would in person.
11. How do I teach remotely in the humanities?
Many humanities courses are text-based, which makes remote and blended learning an exciting opportunity to invite students to think deeply about these texts in different ways, taking advantage of multimedia, collaborative writing and discussion.
12. How do I teach Foreign Languages remotely?
The practice of language learning involves writing, reading, and speaking activities that work particularly well online. These strategies include taking advantage of discussion forums to prepare students for synchronous video discussions, creating storybooks, and listening/dictation activities. There are also a range of apps and tools that help to facilitate and replicate the routines of in-person instruction: vocabulary practice using quizlet, utilizing virtual whiteboards, scaffolded group work and presentations.