Apr 30
Top 5 Learnings from Alternative Delivery

Teaching during alternative delivery has been challenging, exhausting, rewarding​, eye-opening…and more. It's fair to say that we have all been pushed beyond our comfort zone and experienced the role of instructor in a new light over the past several weeks. 

Today's post categorizes the top learnings of a handful of instructors into five topic areas. Maybe they reflect your own learning, or maybe you've had a different experience. Either way, we'd love you to join the conversation by posting a comment below. 


Today’s FF@4 will look ahead to teaching in the fall: How can we best prepare, in light of Dr. Christine Watson's message on Wednesday. Click on this link to join the session via WebEx at 4pm. 


  • ​“Don't let the technology dictate your class or workshop or session, or get in the way of your content. I've learned to simplify the tools I use. Don't be afraid to try out new tools and strategies, and also be willing to make changes and respond to what is and isn't working." ~ Carleigh Friesen, EAL Specialist, Academic Success Centre

  • “Sometimes the most valuable aspects or the most educational parts of the class require very little technology. A simple discussion forum or e-mail, if used appropriately, can increase participation and interest in topic." ~ Samantha Kozak, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication


  • ​“I learned more about tolerance, and soft deadlines, and to understand how stress and life circumstances played out in a crisis. To keep in mind, these are the same issues students face day to day, that are ramped up in a crisis. Deadlines without compassion are just road blocks." ~ Andrea McCann, Instructor, Applied Commerce and Management Education

  • ​“I've learned to be flexible: I had a student accidentally submit the wrong exam to the Dropbox. I told her to send the correct exam quickly by email so I could still give her marks. I've also learned to be patient with myself when learning new technology." ~ Heather Kade, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication


  • ​“I noticed that in the synchronous activities, my attendance numbers were up from around 15/26 to around 24/26. Students who never said a word in class, asked me questions via email and even video calls. Alternative delivery has been helpful for students not comfortable in large groups." ~ Vijay Chandrasekaran, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication

  • “Online teaching has provided a unique opportunity for me to meet the needs of each student (as much as I can) head on. Students are able to work asynchronously if necessary, work in smaller groups, meet with me virtually one-to-one, etc." ~ Sarah Hie, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication

  • “A good percentage of my students have been more active in online discussion and reflections than they ever were in class. I am becoming a firm advocate for a more hybrid approach to course delivery going forward as a result. Technology empowers many students to speak up, discuss, and think critically." ~ Bryan Dueck, Instructor, Early Childhood Education


  • ​"With asynchronous work I can post content well in advance of when I may have during synchronous work, some students have been able to work ahead, which has also spread out the grading load on my end, relieving a lot of end of term stress. However, I find the number of emails going out and coming in exhausting and many students have expressed that they're feeling that way too. I'm definitely going to work out more effective ways to approach certain types of communication in the future." ~ Jocelyne Olson, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication

  • “I have learned that instructions need to be meticulously detailed, and key pieces of information need to be highlighted (I wish there was a neon light font that flashed!) And I have discovered that daily interaction with the students is important to draw them into the course and maintain their focus." ~ Lindsay Mulholland, Instructor, Applied Commerce and Management Education ​

  • “Students really want to connect online. 'Seeing' each other on WebEx is so strange for everyone used to F2F learning, yet the eagerness for students to visit, encourage, comment and ask questions of each other and the instructor really has been inspiring...and a huge relief for me!" ~ Arlene Petkau, Instructor, Math, Sciences & Communication


  • "​I am blown away by what I have learned about teaching and learning in just 6 weeks. That learning came as a direct result of being engaged with a positive, committed community of practice. Thank you to everyone who has been sharing lessons learned and challenges. You all continue to help shape my effectiveness as an instructor." ~ Janine Carmichael, Instructor, Teacher Education


This comment is from Patric...

This comment is from Patricia Culleton-Koebel (Communication dept).:

"I’ve learned a lot, and a big portion of that is what I don’t know but want to know....I have re-affirmed that one of my strengths, has been my ability to create an enjoyable, save and positive classroom culture. On the flip side, I have learned that it is way harder than I ever imagined to recreate that same type of culture online....I have learned that I need to raise my expectations and put more focus on requiring the “niceties” that make interpersonal communication (particularly in professional settings, but very transferable) respectful, organized, informative, active and professional. It is easy to gloss over the basic things and assume that people know them and just focus on the more complex or “higher” level tasks. Niceties such as proper subject lines, polite greetings, action requests instead of statements, and how to ask –up to someone in a higher position or position of authority rather than give using a statement as well as timeliness. I teach all of these things but forget to insist on them in everyday practice. In this context, they make all the difference between extreme frustration and efficient actions."
Picture Placeholder: Amanda  Le Rougetel
  • Amanda Le Rougetel
 on 4/30/2020 12:20 PM

Thanks for sharing, Amanda!...

Thanks for sharing, Amanda! In case anyone is interested in a good read about improving the online teaching craft, I really enjoyed this one: https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/advice-online-teaching?cid=rclink 
Picture Placeholder: Carleigh Nicole Friesen
  • Carleigh Nicole Friesen
 on 5/1/2020 10:20 AM