Whether dictated by necessity or preference, once there is a general understanding on the amount of content that needs to be moved online – format considerations can be further explored. The third factor to consider is:
3. What elements/learning activities best lend themselves to each modality? What modality mix appropriately supports the learning objectives of the class?
Two main drivers should be considered, understanding that a variety of approaches can be adopted from combining the two in different ways. Faculty should consider how the use of modalities can complement one another to facilitate student learning:
- “Flipped” Classroom (Online Driver): Faculty prerecord lectures and post to Blackboard for student review and consumption prior to the in-person meeting. Class time is used for discussion, small group activities and problem-based learning for students physically present and virtually present via simulcast (if applicable). For lab or other specialty type classes, the in-person time may be reserved for only those activities which require use of the in-room equipment or assistance of supervisory personnel. It has been shown that holding students responsible (i.e. give a short Blackboard quiz or other graded assessment) for online lecture materials improves their understanding and places emphasis on those videos.
- “Traditional-Like” Classroom (Face-to-Face Driver): Faculty lecture and hold discussions similar to what is done in an in-person course with the students who are physically present or virtually present via simulcast (if applicable). Asynchronous activities have been pre-built into Blackboard for the students to complete post-class which may include discussion boards, quizzes, group assignments, etc.
Based on the above preference, a faculty member should then consider the following to ensure they choose the requisite schedule to meet the learning goals of the course while taking into consideration any capacity constraints that may exist.
4. How many in-person touch points with the students would they like to have over the length of the semester?
- Meeting with half of the students in-person each day in a 2 day a week class
- The students would be broken into groups and rotated to attend in-person between the days. The same content would need to be taught on both days.
- Meeting with half of the students in-person each day in a 2 day a week class with simulcast.
- The students would be broken into groups and rotated between the days for in-person participation. They would also be required to participate via live stream on the day in which they are not in class.
- Meeting 1 day in-person for a 2 day a week class
- The full class meets in-person one day a week. The class session that is not in person could be held via Zoom or the time could be used for activities of equal instructional equivalent value that are done asynchronously.
- Meeting every other week for a 1 day a week class
- This may be beneficial for classes that require research, group or independent work as this approach provides students more time between classes. This could be supplemented with a zoom check in on the week that the in-person class is not meeting.
Lastly, faculty need to consider the following well in advance of the start of the semester:
5. What type of assistance will they need in designing and developing the class? What type of technology training will be needed?
UNIT can provide training on the technology available at Villanova for recording lectures, using Blackboard, zoom in-class technology and other applications. They are also able to provide instructional design help. In addition, VITAL can help with the learning outcomes, pedagogy, and course design.