Design Considerations

During the course design process, there are several key considerations and strategies to think about. In this section, we are looking at creating a community of learners, organizing the course to ensure consistency of experience, focusing on pedagogy of care and establishing social and teaching presence.  The details below are not an exhaustive list, but are considerations to get you started.  A member of the ETS team can support you fully in designing these aspects of your course. Our ETS Showcase is an excellent resource to go deeper and explore.  Thinking about why, how, and what tools you might use are great starting questions.

What are the options to create a community of learners?

  • Choose to create videos to connect with students rather than text.
  • Enable informal ways of communication, such as Microsoft Teams channels, Padlet or optional discussion forums for students to interact with one another.
  • Invite students to create video introductions – an opportunity for students to “see” one another.

How to organize a course so that it is student-centered and  easy to navigate?

  • Use ETS course starter – students will experience consistency across their courses
  • Be consistent in the format of the content, from beginning to end of course.
  • Use existing Canvas tools to create learning pathways: modules, discussions, assignments.
  • Create learning activities to engage students.
  • Use LOCR for course readings – all course material will be in one place and copyright issues will be taken care of.

Watch this video from Dr. Anna Dong on some of the strategies she uses in her own course organization.

How to ensure a focus on pedagogy of care?

  • Create a place for shared experiences, which will bring students closer together in their lives and learning
  • Use alternative activities for class introductions to develop relationships among students
  • Support students with time management and add due dates to assignments, non-graded learning activities, and live meeting times
  • Be flexible with your expectations
  • Check out the ETS Viewpoints blog on Community and Care for thoughts on teaching with care and empathy

What are some strategies to help with establishing both teaching and social presence in a course?

  • Provide easy mechanisms for students to connecting with you
  • Offer timely, personalized and constructive feedback
  • Find a balance between formative learning activities and graded assessments
  • Enable opportunities for students to collaborate through discussions, group work, team class activities

At the end of the course development process, it is important to take time for reflection and review. Including student experience survey’s in the middle and at the end of your course is one way to gather feedback from students on how they viewed their learning experience in the course.  In addition, you can refer to ADDIE, or other instructional design models as reflection tools of your course.