As Brock University transitions to online learning, Madelyn Law, Associate Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning is encouraging faculty to prioritize their own well-being and the well-being of their students as courses are reweighted, redesigned and digitized.
Law said a first step is to focus on the learning outcomes that have been achieved in the course so far and what still needs to be evaluated. If key concepts have already been taught, she said the focus should be on reweighting within the course.
“This could mean that an assignment delivered early in the course that was worth 10 per cent is now worth 20 per cent, or that an average is taken out of what has already been evaluated,” she said.
“Instead of conducting a three-hour lecture in real time, faculty can instead provide additional readings or pre-record their lectures and upload them to Sakai,” she said.
If an exam is necessary at this time, faculty should focus on how to digitize exam components with the understanding and awareness that this should be seen as an “open book” evaluation.
As these transitions in course weighting and assignment formats are being implemented, Law urged all involved to exercise patience and gratitude towards one another.
“The Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI) and other staff are doing our very best to support faculty in moving their work to alternative formats,” she said. “There will be some hiccups, and we ask that students and faculty are patient as some will be learning to use online tools for the first time.”
Though the format of course delivery may be different, Law said the integrity of the University’s programs are still in place.
“Our top priority is to ensure students are achieving their learning outcomes for the semester and not adding extra stress to their lives in an already challenging time,” she said. “CPI is here to support faculty and teaching assistants in these efforts. This is the time to work together to ensure our students’ academic term is not at risk, the quality of our student learning is not compromised and that we do both of these things in a way that demonstrates how the Brock community can work together to flatten the curve.”
Further information about transitioning a course online and appropriate methods of reweighting, redesigning and digitizing courses and evaluations can be found on the CPI website.