Fall 2020 Gateway Page to Remote Learning Resources

Spring 2020 was a shock for everyone, and Wesleyan’s faculty and students both did an incredible job making a very rapid transition to remote learning.  Having had a chance to digest feedback from students and faculty, the Center for Pedagogical Innovation and the Office of Faculty Development have found that most courses made the transition very well, and that most faculty used a small number of tools to make their transition successful.

For the majority of faculty, these three tools were sufficient for them to make a good transition to online education for part of the semester.  Some faculty, especially those who were teaching large classes, used additional tools, but these three resources were the ones that brought the most success to the most people in spring 2020. 

In thinking about Fall 2020, it is vitally important that faculty think first about their main goals for their classes and their own comfort level about meeting in person before beginning to think about whether and how to hold fully in-person sessions, create some kind of hybrid options, or opt for a fully online course.

For students, two factors made the most difference in their feelings about their spring 2020 experience:

  1. Being connected. Students in classes where faculty took time to connect with them in during class, during office hours, during extra sessions (often held for students who couldn’t meet the regular time), through online chats, and asynchronous conversations (e.g., Moodle forums, google docs, Facebook) felt a lot more satisfied with their courses.
  2. Faculty flexibility on assignments. Often this flexibility happened in terms of deadlines or adjusted assignment length.  Sometimes it meant creating choices of several different assignment types (e.g., problem set or research paper; video presentation or final essay) so students could pick the assignment that they found to be most meaningful and those who had technology access challenges were still able to demonstrate their competence.

Keeping these two things in mind when teaching in an online or hybrid format will go a very long way towards making sure that student remain engaged in courses, learning the material and mastering skills that are the focus of their course, while also feeling like they are still part of a liberal arts learning community.

For more information about how to decide which tools are the best for your class, please see the following pages: fall 2020 decision tree [coming soon], Spring 2020 Success Stories [coming soon], Remote Education Tools by Learning Style [coming soon], Remote Education Tools by Pedegogical Style [coming soon], CPI’s Tips for Successful Online Teaching [coming soon], and ITS’s Learning Continuity.