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Faculty Resources for Online Teaching

Five Key Lessons Learned from Faculty and Instructors Moving Their Courses Online as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In an online article published by Contact North, faculty and instructors posted five key lessons.

  1. Technology cannot replace the work of a teacher.

Technology supports the work of teachers. During the lockdown, the effort is for faculty and instructors to discover new ways to connect and support their students. Instructors' relationships with students maximize their learning.

  1. Engagement is as important as content.

Posting content (e.g., readings, videos, worked examples) may be needed, but it is not the essence of what teaching and learning is about. Content is available everywhere, it is about what faculty and instructors do with the content and technology that matters. What is expected of the student when they are learning math, and how can the instructor make the learning authentic? 

  1. Design matters.

Sharing a course outline together or a collection of content does not make for engaged and effective learning. It may be all that can be achieved in the short time between the lockdown and delivery, but faculty and instructors know it is not enough. Instructional designers have known this for many years, which is why they design effective learning experiences, based on learning models and theories. What is becoming clear, is some faculty and instructors are unfamiliar with these design principles and practices, though some intuitively “get it”, based on rethinking and reimagining what they do in a normal classroom.

Others are “picking up” ideas from the excellent materials developed by centres for teaching and learning and professional development in colleges and universities. But a great many struggle with learning design and need support.

  1. What the learner does between classes is as important as what they do in class.

Live lectures help learning, but significant learning takes place outside the classroom and always has. The role of the instructor is one of enabling and shaping learning. The student does most of the work. But faculty and instructors can shape the design of this, between class learning and dramatically improve learning outcomes.

  1. We have to rethink assessment.

Assessing students who are online is difficult. We cannot assume all students have equal access or sufficient equipment. Academic integrity is challenged as students can share assessments or use apps to do homework like Photomath. 



Contact North (2020, April 22). Five Key Lessons Learned from Faculty and Instructors Moving Their Courses Online as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.


For an online instructor guide from the same website, click below.


Teaching Math Online by Matthew Cheung. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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