The following outlines specific goals for building our capacity in digital learning within each of our Guiding Principles. The statements included below capture some of the ideas and key insights from discussions at the Digital Learning Strategy Hives.
Promote Leading Pedagogy
"Digital learning must be intentional — my experience was great because the instructor had created it for a digital experience, it was thought of and built for this."
"Digital learning is becoming hard to separate from just learning."
"We've learned a lot over the pandemic; recognizing that not all courses are suited to the same mode of delivery. If instructors are going to teach online, they need to be well supported."
- Building on the success of the Online Learning Academy, we will expand our digital teaching supports and programming to offer more pedagogical and technological consultations and professional development opportunities for instructors and units.
- Through communities of practice and outreach events, we will foster community and collaboration with the goal of encouraging sharing of best practices to empower instructors and units to innovate and experiment.
- We will celebrate excellence in digital teaching through the development of new awards and fellowships and highlight instructor and unit achievements to our community.
Foster Digital Fluency
"We need to ensure no one is left behind as we leap forward."
"We need a hub where you can learn and share best practices and tools you could draw on — an enriched array of training for faculty for online teaching."
"Expectations are evolving and so is learning. Students need to be more supported to navigate changing technology."
- We will develop more robust programming and technical documentation to enable better understanding of and facility with educational technologies and tools.
- We will establish a dedicated studio and editing space within the Faculty where instructors can experiment with video and audio technologies, receive dedicated support for filming, recording and editing, and participate in professional development training on current and emerging technologies.
- We will explore building and/or increasing student technical support capacity within A&S and working closely with existing central partners such as Learning Space Management, Information Technology Services and University of Toronto Library, to support student use of Quercus and other educational technologies.
- We will develop student-facing programming and supports to encourage readiness for digital online learning and fluency with educational technologies and tools, in preparation for both the classroom and career development.
"Balance is important — we need to offer online opportunities and in-person engagement as well."
"Things happen in students’ lives (commuting, getting sick) — can we provide ways for students to stay connected through online pathways?"
"The ability to do some work and learning online has provided some benefits for everyone."
- Units interested in increasing capacity in online course offerings, as well as flexible modes of delivery, will be provided technical, pedagogical and curricular support.
- We will support A&S units through the governance process to meet their online course offering goals.
- We will support units in their online teaching goals by providing robust options for ensuring academic integrity, including in-person assessments and building out instructor, unit and student academic integrity supports.
"We need resourcing for exploring new technologies while we wait for the longer term to unfold, to help us keep at the leading edge."
"We need to make sure we are intentional in looking at best practices."
"We need to understand our environment and use data to help drive decisions."
- We will work closely with central offices, including the Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education, the Digital Learning Innovation team and the Office of the Chief Information Officer, to identify external funding sources, and support A&S units and instructors in applying for these opportunities.
- We will create more resources, including tailored workshops, staff support and programming, to assist units to develop their digital content and courses.
- We will ensure digital learning is positioned in strategic alignment with the larger goals of the Faculty, for example, through supporting units in relation to meeting enrollment goals and experiential learning initiatives.
- To be responsive and timely in our strategies, we will stay attuned to changes in digital learning tools and pedagogies and leverage internal and external data, such as surveys on digital learning experiences of both students and instructors.
Integrate New Technology
"We must be intentional about integrating technology in ways that still promote healthy interaction between students and with instructors/faculty."
"There is a need for technological flexibility given classroom, instructor and pedagogical requirements."
- We will identify ways to improve the process for adopting and integrating educational technology tools, working closely with central offices such as Academic & Collaborative Technologies to ensure we meet the needs of our instructors and units.
- Working closely with the Office of the Chief Information Officer, we will support development of improved processes, procedures and policies to maintain the privacy, safety and security of our students, units, faculty and staff.
- We will identify strategies and tools that build in meaningful opportunities for engagement and interaction in all forms of course delivery.
"Online doesn’t mean only remotely from home. We need to provide spaces on campus where students can join in online synchronous classes."
"Classrooms need to be updated to provide consistency in set-up (or availability of set-up, as instructors don’t all want to use the same tools and technologies in the same ways)."
- We will engage with U of T Libraries and other institutional stakeholders to find ways to optimize non-classroom spaces on campus for students to attend online synchronous courses or do asynchronous course work, to enable smooth transitions between course delivery modes.
- We will work with units and the institutional Learning Space Management team to optimize classrooms through the integration of classroom technologies, and where appropriate, the building and retrofitting of classrooms to foster innovation and experimentation in course delivery.
- We will develop a dedicated studio space, staffed by trained technicians, to provide instructors and units with on-campus space to develop digital learning assets and materials.
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