Keep Things Equitable

  • Leverage the advantages of being in an online space

  • Provide differentiated experiences

  • Adapt assessments for online and favour higher-order thinking

  1. Leverage the advantages of being in an online space

Transitioning a face-to-face course to an online environment may require translating the spirit of the course, rather than a transliteration of the course. If your past teaching experience is founded on 3 hour teacher lectures with students interjecting questions, you may have a difficult experience with transitioning the course to an online environment. Although it may seem like a simple adjustment of moving to a synchronous meeting space, you have students encounter more barriers around scheduling, attention, and learning. When designing for an online course, consider what elements can happen asynchronously. Consider leveraging students access to the Internet, for example you may ask students to search and share for real life or current examples of course topics.

Recommended Resources

Reasons to Prefer Asynchronous Options

Strategies for Asynchronous and Synchronous Interactions

The Asynchronous Cookbook

Minds Online - Preface

Aspects of Large-Enrollment Online College Science Courses That Exacerbate and Alleviate Student Anxiety

2. Provide differentiated experiences

Considering course accessibility is an important practice in a face-to-face context, but doubly so online. Consider your course objectives/outcomes/goals and identify how the students experience those. For example, are there resources on your course that rely on a student's ability to hear? Is it possible to supplement those with visual or written pieces? Likewise for visual disabilities.

Additionally, are there multiple approaches that can be modelled or explained, if a problem can be approached from multiple ways highlighting those approaches can make a course more accessible in terms of executive functioning.

In an online context, another consideration will be bandwidth. Are there course experiences or outcomes that are overly reliant on high bandwidth resources (e.g. online meeting tools, high definition videos, etc)?

Recommended Resources

UPEI's Accessibility Services

The Accessibility Checklist

EDI and Accessibility Guidebook for Remote Teaching

The UDL Guidelines

3. Adapt assessments for online and favour higher-order thinking

When teaching online you will want to evaluate your assessments. Certain types of assessments may be less rigorous than if they were to take place in a face-to-face context. You may want to adapt weighting of certain assessments, such as making recall-based multiple choice quizzes more of a comprehension check or course pacing tool rather than as a high stakes assessment. Additionally you may want to leverage a student's access to information to focus on open-book assessments or high order thinking problems.

Changing an assessment approach from "determining what students don't know" to "how can students show what they understand" can help alleviate concerns around cheating.

Recommended Resources

Alternative Assessments