Teaching and learning online is still a new experience for the Wheaton community. In many ways, designing a course for the online environment is very different from designing a face-to-face course. However, they should be build on the same values that have long been the foundation of the Wheaton education.
Connecting with students. Our relationships with our students is one of, if not the, most rewarding and impactful aspects of the Wheaton education. One of the myths of online instruction is that it prevents this kind of connection. In truth, a well designed course can foster close individual and group connections. While it may not be possible to replicate the exact relationships that are developed while we are all on campus, meaningful relationships are still possible and, in many ways, more important as we all struggle to cope with the current reality.
Inclusive teaching. We understand that all good teaching is inclusive. We have also seen the various ways that the pandemic has exacerbated the existing inequities of our community and society. The transition to remote instruction has been similarly problematic. With careful planning, understanding, and flexibility, we can design online offerings that enable all our students to learn, grow, and succeed.
Evidence-based pedagogy. Wheaton has a long tradition of excellence in teaching. Connecting with and learning from the extensive literature on online learning in addition to recent publications on this spring's forced transition to remote instruction will help us continue that tradition in this new context.
Collaboration. One of the most powerful tools we have is that of collaboration. Together, we can work towards adapting online instruction practices to fit our context. We can share strategies for fostering deeper connections with our students. We can help each other gain a better understanding the barriers students from traditionally underserved populations are facing and strategize ways to lower them.
Here are some resources to help you get started designing your course: