The resources compiled in this guide are extensive, covering material developed at dozens of institutions in a variety of contexts. Over time, we will continue to update this guide and are especially interested in ideas or best practices developed by SAIC faculty which directly address SAIC’s unique curriculum. Consider this a resource-in-progress.
In this guide, you’ll find information on both synchronous and asynchronous approaches to remote instruction. While both should be explored, we strongly urge all faculty to focus their attention on asynchronous instructional resources. Asynchronous instruction utilizes activities and work which do not depend upon faculty and students being in direct contact at any one particular time, including the meeting time assigned to the previous on-campus version of a course. For the time being, we must collectively set aside the notion that a class must meet together for three or six hours a day to function.
Asynchronous approaches are far more congruent to the circumstances facing both students and faculty in Spring 2020. As faculty develop revised and remote curriculum, consider those students who may:
• now reside in time zones significantly different from Chicago and those of other students in class
• have significantly fewer hours of time available for study as a result of shared living spaces and fewer communication resources
• lack access to reliable, let alone high-speed, internet
• face extreme economic pressure due to personal or familial job loss
• reside in unstable housing with people who may not be supportive of the time they need to spend on their studies and/or creative practice
• And lastly but most importantly, always keep in mind that all students and all of us are grappling with highly increased levels of distraction and anxiety.
In addition to this guide, here are a few more ideas to orient faculty toward the task ahead: developing remote learning curriculum infused with creativity, flexibility, and empathy.
• Take the ideas you find here and then look at your existing curriculum. Ask yourself what your students can accomplish under these circumstances with this remaining time
• Acknowledge that you will need to re-consider your own priorities. Scaling back is inevitable, and that is all right
• Consider how to best break up your content into chunks which are smaller and more suited to students who can only work for brief stretches
• Once you’ve made a plan and classes resume, communicate to students frequently, without always asking for contact in return
If you have any questions about how to tackle online instruction in this singular moment, do not hesitate to reach out to your department Chair, or the Deans or Associate Deans of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies, respectively.
Thank you for the work you are doing in support of our students.