Suggestions and Implications for Course Instructors
Consider all decisions in light of their impact on the well-being of ourselves, our students, and our TA’s.
- Students will have different living arrangements to contend with as they learn remotely. Synchronous attendance for long periods of time may not be possible for some.
- Review your course adaptation plan with a wellness lens. Is the overall strategy sustainable for you, your students, and TAs (if applicable)? What options and safety nets are in place if you or a loved one becomes ill? What options and safety nets are in place if your student/TA or their loved one becomes ill?
- Design and delivery of assessment must consider the workloads of the instructor, support staff, TAs, and students. Always keep in mind the demands of students mastering material, learning skills, and dealing with multiple learning technologies in the context of a full course load.
- Structure assessments for efficient grading. Seek advice for ways to do this.
- Ask for the support you need to do your work as well as possible under the circumstances. Care-giving and other contextual constraints will affect faculty, TAs, and students. People who are pre-tenure and who teach on contract for UBC may feel particularly vulnerable in these times. Please reach out to share your concerns and ask for help, to whomever you feel comfortable doing so.
Consider accessibility and inclusion in all aspects of your course design (See Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Peralta Online Equity Initiative Resources)
- Please consider taking this opportunity to critically evaluate where you can embed EDI and anti-racist policies, practices, and scholarship. If you are seeking a starting point, read “4 Ways that Scientists and Academics can effectively combat racism,” “Intentional Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Decision-Making” guide, and https://inclusiveteaching.ctlt.ubc.ca/ .
- Pay particular attention to content delivery and engagement approach so as not to systematically exclude students with different abilities or living situations. Provision closed captioning and ensure recordings are available offline.
- Ensure required resources (e.g., textbooks) are accessible to all students. Consider using/creating open educational resources (OER) where possible and appropriate.
- Consider alternate ways to engage students in course material that encourages variety in student interactions and the ability to complete or take lessons off-screen. For example, invite students to walk outside (at physical distance, as appropriate) and identify relevant course concepts. Offer the option to complete a corresponding reflection as an audio or video file rather than typed text.
Be flexible (See Principle 4 for more suggestions).
- Build flexibility into assessment strategies. More frequent lower stakes assessments may help students keep on track while avoiding intense stresses brought by fewer higher stakes assessments. This recommendation applies across disciplines, including writing-based assessments, knowledge-based assessments, language learning, and skills learning.
- Build flexibility into policies for work submitted. For example, consider offering a few “free passes” for late work, or count only the best 10/12 quizzes.
Guiding Principles Navigation
This work is adapted from “Guiding Principles for Fall 2020 Course Adaptations” and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.