This page organizes tutorials, videos, and resources to help you with general course design. We strongly recommend reading through the page and selecting the materials that make the most sense for your needs.
Materials here will roll out gradually. Please note that you need to be logged into your Champlain account (e.g., Gmail) to access any documents or slides.
- Creating a Dynamic Syllabus
- Activating Prior Knowledge (coming soon!)
- Creating Virtual Class Community
- Active Learning in Flex-Hybrid and Socially-Distanced Environments
- Scaffolding Assignments for Critical Thinking
- Canvas Templates
- Library Resources
- DEI in Flex-hybrid and Remote Learning
- Tech Tips, Tools, and Timesavers (coming soon!)
- Choose Your Own Adventure: Strategic Advice by Course Type
Creating a Dynamic Syllabus
Want to make your syllabus more student-centered, visually engaging, and/or easy to follow? This article, featuring graphical syllabi from Rebecca Mills and Warren Sides, offers some creative ideas grounded in pedagogical best practices. Your syllabus could look like these (click to enlarge)!
In addition, a syllabus template is available here. It mirrors the template embedded in your Canvas shell.
Activating Prior Knowledge
Creating Virtual Class Community
We frequently hear from faculty that the absence of classroom community is a challenge with remote learning, or, conversely, that an already-strong classroom community made the shift to remote learning smoother. Students have also expressed similar feelings. Fortunately, there are many strategies for fostering community in flex-hybrid settings (where face-to-face meetings may be less frequent, involve smaller groups of students, and/or not include students who are vulnerable to coronavirus) and remote learning. Lauren Bruneau and Leslie Van Wagner of Academic Coaching have offer some suggestions for creating community in remote live sessions based on feedback they received from students this spring.
Active Learning In Flex-Hybrid and Socially Distanced Environments
Many (if not most) of us stress some form of active learning in our classes: collaborative exercises, labs, creative projects, small and large group discussions, service and experiential learning, and other highly engaged strategies. If you plan to be fully remote, some of these may seem impossible. Even if you plan to conduct most of your teaching in a classroom, social distancing rules and new classroom layouts will probalby constrain some of the active learning strategies you’ve used in the past.
On the other hand, many active learning strategies can be adapted for remote, flex-hybrid, and physically distanced scenarios, including situations where some of your students are physically present and others are not. Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching offers an article on synchronous flex-hybrid active learning strategies that may mirror techniques you’ve used in the past, or suggest new ones you could adapt to a fully in-person classroom in the future. You can find it here.
Scaffolding Assignments for Critical Thinking
In many courses, critical thinking is a major goal. But how can we help students achieve it? Scaffolding your course (using content and exercises that carefully build on each other, encouraging students to acquire and then apply skills) is one strategy for nurturing critical thinking. Miriam Horne (Core, CLT) explains and offers some different strategies for scaffolding (slideshow).
One of the course standards for fall that you may be less familiar with is the use of Modules in Canvas. Modules, as the Design Team can show you in more detail, are a way of organizing and presenting other Canvas components like discussions, assignments, links, files, and so on. This resource, from Cornell University, explores how Modules are an effective way of presenting your course.
To streamline the adoption of Modules, we have created a Canvas template you can import into your course. It organizes your content by week and provides weekly discussions, assignments, and content pages that you can edit to fit your course if they work for you, or delete if they do not. You can find comprehensive information about what the template contains, why it’s helpful, and how to import it here.
Your fall Canvas shells will all have a button in the upper right for importing the template so you can bypass the more time-consuming import process you may have used in the past. If you plan to use the template, it is important to import it before you begin building your course.
(You can access the original spring Canvas template information here. However, the spring template itself is not appropriate for fall use.)
Overview of Library Resources
The Library can offer assistance with finding digital resources, student research projects, and retrieving items in the event that the physical facility is closed. An overview and list of frequently asked questions, which will be updated for fall 2020, is available here on the Library website.
If you have questions or need help locating texts for your course, please email referencedesk [at] champlain [dot] edu.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Flex-Hybrid and Remote Learning
Moving some components of your class to Canvas or pivoting to remote when necessary raises special DEI concerns, in addition to aspects of DEI that are common to all areas of academic life at Champlain. Guided training, with particular attention to race and gender, is available to faculty through the DEI Faculty Training course that debuted in late spring 2020. Additional resources can be found in the DEI Toolkit. Both of these are available to you in Canvas (Champlain login required).
This is also an ideal moment to think about DEI in relation to your content and course structure. We are already adapting or redesigning courses, and the skyrocketing national attention to racial injustice serves as a call to think about whose voices are heard (and not heard) in our classrooms. This guide to Critical Analysis of a Curricular Unit can help you think through ways to make your curriculum more diverse, equitable, and just, regardless of your subject area. The guide was created by teacher Jess Lifshitz, and we thank Dr. Elaine Young for bringing it to our attention.
For more information on special DEI concerns for flex-hybrid and remote learning, including technological equity, accessibility, and sensitivity to student needs, as well as resources for anti-racist teaching and helping students navigate the trauma of COVID-19 and racial injustice, click here.
Tech Tips, Tools, and Timesavers
Choosing appropriate technologies is a very important aspect of course design. While all Champlain flex-hybrid and remote learning courses are based in Canvas, there are many options available for additional technologies that enhance your class’s experience. Wondering how to choose while saving time and ensuring that students do not have to master multiple new technologies for your course? Explore our resources here.
Design Resources by Course Types
Choose your own adventure! In an effort to simplify your exploration of effective strategies for your course, we have prepared pages that offer suggestions and resources by general course type.