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Keeping it simple when teaching classes remotely

Faculty and instructors are receiving support and resources in move to alternative modes of course and exam delivery
By: Emily Graham
March 24, 2020
Man sitting at a desk and using a pen to write in a notebook

A variety of how-to guides and resources have been created to help faculty and instructors with the transition to remote teaching due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Ryerson announced that as of March 13, 2020 all classes and exams were to be held remotely until further notice.

Keep Teaching Taskforce

To help navigate these uncharted waters, a Keep Teaching Task Force (KTT) was established with a mandate to support faculty and instructors in creating alternative forms of course and exam delivery. Faculty and instructors have been actively adapting their curricula and final exams to deliver them outside a classroom setting. Above all, Ryerson is committed to ensure Ryerson students can continue their learning and complete their current courses.

“Pivoting to alternative formats, especially so quickly, is a challenge for all,” says Kelly MacKay, vice-provost, academic. “Our priority is to support and encourage faculty, instructors and students alike in a meaningful and efficient way. Ensuring students can complete the semester without interruption is of great importance. We’re all in this together.”

The KTT is composed of representatives from the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, the Library, Chang School, CCS and Vice-Provost, Academic. Their key recommendation to faculty and instructors is to use the simplest option that makes sense for their course. For example, technology solutions that are stable, accessible, supported and those that are familiar to students are considered the most effective.

Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

In addition to the KTT, the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, in collaboration with the Chang School, CCS, and the Library, has developed a Continuity of Teaching guide, which provides resources for remote teaching and assessment. Resources available include tutorials, videos, and guides on how best to facilitate student participation, rethink assessments, pre-record lectures, and use D2L Brightspace, to name a few. They have also created a Continuity of Learning guide for students to help them adjust to the new delivery tools being used by their instructors.

The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching is also offering virtual consultations with faculty and instructors to help them move their courses online. The most common questions  pertain to final assessment planning, Zoom, and the facilitation of online quizzes. Both the Teaching Centre and the KTT are strongly recommending instructors find an alternative to proctored final exams and are conducting testing and community consults to explore alternative solutions.

Wendy Freeman, interim executive director for the Centre of Excellence in Learning and Teaching, says it’s all hands on deck at the Teaching Centre. “All teams are working very hard to respond to faculty, instructor, and program requests,” she says. “We are focusing on supporting the Ryerson students, faculty and instructors, and it’s been great to see the  incredible flexibility, creativity, compassion and dedication faculty and instructors have demonstrated throughout this transition week.”

Any questions regarding Continuity of Teaching can be directed to, google formsign up, external link or email to make an appointment with a member of the Teaching Centre team for a virtual consultation.

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