Announcing a New OER – Universal Design for Learning (UDL): One Small Step

We know that learners bring a wide range of knowledge, skills, backgrounds, and experiences into the classroom. As educators, we can expect to find variability in our classroom. The USask Learning Charter lists, as one of the Educator Commitments and Responsibilities, to Strive for Excellence in Teaching. This commitment means that educators work to develop respectful and inclusive learning environments that support student learning. Honouring this commitment requires that educators co-create with students a shared space for learning in which all participants feel respected, valued, and empowered to contribute as they achieve their goals and share the gifts of their identities in relationship with one another. This approach is also part of the work that comes to embody the word manacihtowin (Cree) / manachihitoohk (Michif) (i.e., respect of all individuals). When we don’t respond to the variability in our classrooms, we make our educational experiences exclusive. 

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a powerful set of approaches that allows you to make sure the greatest range of students can access and engage in learning – not just certain students. A new open educational resource (OER), authored by a collaborative team of TLSE staff members, is available for USask educators to learn more about UDL: Universal Design for Learning: One Small Step 

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Considerations for Concurrent Hybrid Teaching

Teaching in a concurrent hybrid (or, possibly more accurately, a concurrent hyflex) classroom is when you teach both in-person and remote students at the same time, usually by physically being present in the same classroom space as the in-person students. While this teaching modality has certainly been used more widely during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also an interesting one to consider for a variety of situations in which students might require additional freedom and/or flexibility to choose either an in-person or remote learning experience. The possibilities of concurrent hybrid/hyflex teaching to increase the accessibility of courses and degree programs are the key part of why they are being considered more and more in higher education settings.

However, the challenges of concurrent hybrid teaching are real. For many instructors and students, this is an unfamiliar way of teaching and learning, and it is a unique approach that requires unique teaching solutions. While simply setting up a camera feed so that virtual students can “tune in” to the in-person event is a start, there is a lot more to consider with regards to the technical setup and, importantly, the instructional design of a high-quality concurrent hybrid course. The goal is to ensure that the remote students do not experience an inequity of teaching attention or a compromised quality of instruction. With that in mind, here are some things to consider in taking hybrid teaching beyond simply livestreaming a lecture.

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Improve Your Video Content with Captions and Transcripts

It’s very possible that during the last year, you spent some time making videos for your courses. Adding closed captions and/or downloadable transcripts is a great way to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of your video-based course materials, and with tools built into Panopto, this can be done quite quickly. Let’s look at why and how to do this!

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DEU EdTech Quick Tips – Issue 42

In this Issue: Successful Synchronous Strategies

    • Using Synchronous Sessions: Learning in Real-time
    • Synchronous Session Hack: Use Your Phone as a Document Camera
    • USask Instructor Engages Students with “Escape Room” Learning Activities
    • Get inspired! Share your synchronous success story
    • Articles of Interest for Synchronous Online Learning
    • DEU support and contact information

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