Adapted from The COMD Pedagogy Project by Jenna Spevack

As you embark on building your model course, review, collect, and organize course materials and methods so you can align them with the course template, the College’s credit hour policy, and the recommended Best Practices.

Start with asynchronous

To best accommodate teaching and learning with online components, adapt assignments and teaching materials across all learning modalities: in-person/web-enhanced, hybrid, and fully online.

Although we can’t predict future disruptions, we can plan for them. We can certainly anticipate student or instructor illness, or technology or bandwidth limitations. Design course materials and instruction so students can participate and complete coursework using asynchronous communication methods (discussion, posts/comments, etc).

Attendance and Participation

Student attendance during synchronous meetings is important for student engagement and classroom community, but it is not an official condition of attendance.

Based on the College’s attendance policy, attendance is not a requirement for course completion, but it could affect the student’s grade. Give students clear participation requirements for grading, and multiple ways to meet the requirements in both synchronous and asynchronous modalities, and in written, oral, visual, graphic, numeric, etc formats.

Communicating Instruction

Students need clear instructions on how to navigate course resources and tools at the start of the semester or during an emergency, when students are joining or acclimating to a new course environment. This is true for all course formats: in-person, hybrid, remote synchronous, or asynchronous.

When adapting an existing assignment, review the instructional guidelines and evaluate what kind of additional directions remote learning necessitates. Text-based instructions will likely require support materials, such as links to web-based sources, videos demos, or tutorials. A rubric, a clear list of outcomes, and a schedule of deliverables posted with each assignment will help to clarify expectations. 

Providing a consistent display and delivery of instructional materials will help reduce the inevitable “cognitive load” that students experience both in the learning environment and everyday life.

Students easily can read the assignment narrative and still not comprehend what is expected… Students are more successful on assignments when they know exactly what will be expected…  

Student Involvement & Engagement

The majority of City Tech classes will have a synchronous component, but we should adopt a balance of student learning and interaction methods.

Class “meeting” times should be interactive whether synchronous at a designated time (live in-person, video or chat) or asynchronous (discussion forum, collaborative docs, or post/comment). Minimize extended live or recorded video “lectures.” Opt for short micro lectures and demonstrations using video, animation, or slideshows to support text-based instructional materials and pair with student-led Q&A or inquiry-based activities.

Remote collaboration between students, whether simply commenting/critiquing work in progress or assigning formal learning teams, promotes classroom community and student connections.

Consider Accessibility

Accessibility means that no one is prevented from engaging with the materials you create because of a disability of any kind. No one will need to request a special accommodation to use your materials because they will already be accessible to anyone. Web accessibility helps ensure that anyone can perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the Web (from Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM)).

For many of our students English is not their primary language. Others may have learning or accessibility needs that make comprehension of so-called college-level text, audio, or other media challenging.

Review the links below on Accessibility & Universal Design to better communicate with all of your students and to help faculty using your Model Course meet the College’s accessibility standards. The Hemingway App is a great tool to gauge grade-level readability.

Consider Open Pedagogy

Open pedagogy, also known as open educational practices (OEP), is the use of open educational resources (OER) to support learning, or the open sharing of teaching practices with a goal of improving education and training at the institutional, professional, and individual level. When you use open pedagogy in your classroom, you are inviting your students to be part of the teaching process, participating in the co-creation of knowledge.

There are many ways to integrate open pedagogy into your course learning materials. With faculty direction, students can create or add to openly available resources, tools, or collections for current or future students. Some examples include creating or curating exercises for a chapter in an open textbook or course OER, or a collection of images, media resources, or tutorials.

Copyright and Attribution

Before adapting materials for your Model Course, review the City Tech Library’s OER Copyright & Fair Use Module.

Copyright protections apply to both scholarly and creative works that you create and works that you use. Just because something is posted online, that doesn’t mean it’s “open”…it may have been illegally posted by someone else.

When using openly licensed materials in your course, always provide attribution. The OpenLab, in collaboration with the City Tech Library, has developed an attribution plugin to make it easy to add attribution to your posts and pages. For example, the very bottom of this page contains a list of sources used in this module.

Compliance with credit hour policy

As you collect and organize your model course materials and activities, consider the credit hour policy.

If your course is 3 credits, are the credit hours commensurate with course work for an online or hybrid version of the course? How many hours outside of the weekly class “meeting(s)” are students expected to work to meet the activity’s learning outcomes?


Here are some resources for creating and adapting course materials to address the challenges and opportunities of online, hybrid, and web-enhanced education.


  1. 4 Expert Strategies for Designing an Online Course. Amy Rottmann and Salena Rabidoux. Inside Higher Ed. March 15, 2017. License unknown. 
  2. Introduction to Accessibility. Bree Zuckerman. OER Fellowship at City Tech. Licensed under CC BY-NC
  3. What is Open PedagogyBCcampus OpenED. Licensed under CC BY
  4. OER Copyright & Fair Use Module. CUNY Office of Library Services Copyright Committee. City Tech Library. Licensed under CC BY. / Adapted from the original work