Before building your model course, take some time to review existing materials and collect, organize, and align your course materials and methods with The Model Course Structure and the recommended Best Practices.

Consider All Learning Modalities

To the best of our ability, we should consider adapting assignments and teaching methods for use across all learning modalities (in-person, hybrid, online/synchronous, and asynchronous).

In the event of future disruptions, student illness, or technology or bandwidth limitations, design your course materials and instruction so students can effectively participate and complete coursework using asynchronous communication methods (discussion, posts/comments, etc), alongside synchronous methods.

Attendance vs Participation

Student attendance during synchronous (video or in-person) meetings is important for student engagement and classroom community, but it is not an official condition of attendance.

Based on the College’s current attendance policy, attendance is not a requirement for course completion, but it could affect the student’s grade. Students should be given clearly defined asynchronous participation requirements. Examples such as commenting on a post at the start of class or posting a written reflection after watching a video, are examples of active participation.

Attendance is taken and is important to success in this class. Both absences and arrival more than 15 minutes after the start of class will be marked. If excessive, the instructor will alert the student that he or she may be in danger of not meeting the course objectives and participation expectations, which could lead to a lower grade.

Attendance (College) and Lateness (Department) Policies

Communicating Instruction

Whether in-person, hybrid or online, faculty should provide clear instructions on how to navigate the instructional resources and tools used. This is especially important at the start of the semester when faculty are onboarding students or getting them acclimated to the new course environment.

When adapting an existing assignment, review the instructional guidelines and evaluate what kind of additional direction is required for remote learning. 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 format and delivery of instructional materials will help reduce the inevitable “cognitive load” that students experience both in the learning environment and in 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 in-person, hybrid, or online courses have a face-to-face or synchronous/video component, but we should adopt a balance of student learning and interaction methods.

Class “meeting” times should be interactive whether meeting synchronously at a designated time (in-person, video, or chat) or asynchronously (discussion forum, collaborative docs, or post/comment). Avoid 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.

Building in remote collaboration between students for each assignment, 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 differences that make comprehension of “college-level” text, audio, or other media challenging.

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

Here’s a video from the City Tech Library that offers some good tips for preparing course materials with Accessibility in mind.

Formatting and Design Considerations for Accessibility with Educational Objects

Accessibility Resources

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. Consider how students, under faculty direction, can create or add to openly available resources, tools, or collections for current or future students. Some examples include creating exercises for a chapter in an open textbook or course OER. Developing a shared glossary or a collection of images, media resources, or tutorials created and/or curated by students are some other ideas.

Open Pedagogy Resources

Before adapting materials for your Model Course or any course that you teach, take time to 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.

Additional Resources

Here are some resources for creating and adapting course materials to address the challenges and opportunities for designing web-enhanced resources for use across learning modalities.

OpenLab Distance Education Help

Distance Education Course Design Evaluation

Other Resources