Instructional Continuity

Mason is developing instructional methods that provide access to learning while promoting health and safety

These guidelines will support curriculum development, course delivery, and technology training for face-to-face, online, and hybrid classes.

Plans will include accommodations for:

  • Students with special vulnerabilities and those who may need to be isolated or quarantined. 
  • Faculty who become sick or need to quarantine, with contingency plans to move to online instruction. 

Stearns Center Services

The Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning provides course development services and training for online instruction. Services include:

  • Course development support: Faculty set up online courses in consultation with and through guidance from an instructional designer from Mason’s partner networks. The center will provide support through August 9, 2020. Consultation includes, but is not limited to:

    • Planning course structure.
    • Transitioning lectures into online sessions.
    • Designing synchronous sessions.
    • Building community.
    • Conducting quality reviews.
    • Refining media ideas.
  • Development training: The center will host two virtual course development primers for faculty teaching primarily online or face-to-face/hybrid in the fall.
  • Online course development primer: Faculty seeking help in developing online courses focus on how to convert existing course materials into an online, predominantly asynchronous environment. You will spend 5 to 10 hours a week on course development.
  • Pivotal pedagogy fundamentals course: Faculty teaching altered face-to-face and/or hybrid courses for fall focus on how to blend in-room socially distanced teaching, synchronous video teaching, and online course activities.
  • Webinars: These sessions on online teaching will include a facilitated Q&A. Recorded sessions will be available for those unable to attend.

Other Support

  • Tools and strategies to facilitate online courses: Learn such skills as:

    • Establishing instructor presence.
    • Providing effective feedback.
    • Monitoring asynchronous learning.
  • Creating media for online courses: Instruction includes best practices and resources for copyright and accessibility when using media. Learn how to create:
    • Video.
    • Screencasts.
    • Narrated lectures.
    • Graphics.
  • Blackboard course management: Learn to leverage Blackboard tools to:
    • Organize courses.
    • Communicate with students.
    • Analyze behavior and performance.
    • Provide opportunities for discussion and collaboration.
  • Designing synchronous sessions: Learn to maximize student engagement and learning, as well as best practices for preparing for and facilitating these courses.
  • Online teaching strategies course: This four-week facilitated session incorporates evidence-based online practices, providing tips and learning strategies needed for online teaching, as well as strategies to improve student learning and retention. The training experience includes: 
    • Overview of research-based principles on how students learn online.
    • Review of the community of inquiry model and its relevance to online learning.
    • Strategies to keep students motivated.
    • Providing effective feedback.
    • Monitoring and assessing learning.
    • Facilitating online discussions.
    • Suggestions for synchronous learning.
    • Management techniques to achieve work/life balance.
    • Handling challenging situations.
    • Dealing with legal/ethical issues.
    • Collaboration and group discussion.

Assistive Technology Initiative

Faculty and students can get direct assistive technology assessment, training, and support services to meet online and hybrid course accessibility standards.