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Virtual Learning Teaching Resources and Tips: Resources from Ryan (Global Online Academy, etc.)

Designing for Learning

Designing for Online Learning - Global Online Academy 

Quotes (in italics below) and links shared with permission from

Step 1 - Design Your Course for Student Agency

  1. Decide what types of learning experiences require synchronous connection and which synchronous experiences can be turned into asynchronous experiences 

  2. Strategies for Effective Communication and Online Teaching

  3. Be deliberate and be present

  4. Design the course to push students to the two spaces (work modules and HunZoom classes)

  5. Be present in learning spaces online often ( make it a dynamic and thriving space)

  6. Abandon the idea of classwork versus homework

  7. Create routines so students know when they will hear from you

  8. Leverage video messages to students

Step 2 - Wayfinding - Help Students Know Where and How to Learn Online

  1. Reduce the cognitive load on students by making wayfinding easy

    • Use video instructions or visual cues

    • Make things predictable - set up routine

    • Lessons should include Instruction, practice / interaction, and a summative experience

    • Innovate within set structures

  2. Any online unit or lesson (really, any unit or lesson) should begin with clear, public articulation of the intended learning outcomes. Such clarity and specifics help students understand why they need to navigate the learning experience.  Fight the urge to simply write these goals at the top of an online page or course. Instead, communicate your goals via a video, infographic, or other multimedia tool.

  3. Communicate instructions with visuals and not just words

  4. Designing a work module:

    • Design assignments in manageable bites - provide explicit transitions

    • Provide links for students to find activities - Use visual redundancy

  5. Design Pages for Engagement

    • Use HyperDocs for instructions and to curate the assignment

    • Design for student flexibility so they can move at their own pace and based on their interest

    • Provide a pacing guide for students

Step 3 - Design for Relationships

  1. Instructor presence is vital in ensuring that students remain engaged. It’s a signpost for students that the course is living. Consider different ways in which you might use updates, videos, or messages as a way to re-engage students

  2. When a course is in session, students need to see “evidence of engagement” such as announcements, discussion board posts, and uploads of photos or videos on the part of the instructor, Ragan says. It’s not enough to log in and monitor a course. Instructors need to show that they are active in the course.

  3. You also can ask questions specifically about your role as instructor, such as:

  4. Is the timeliness of my responses helpful?

  5. Are the types of responses you’re getting helpful?

  6. Is there anything else I could be doing to help you?

  7. The best online learning experiences should be immersive and multisensory: you’re not just “doing work,” you’re interacting, sharing, collaborating, and creating.

At the beginning of the online learning process: prioritize presence and responsiveness. Respond to messages as quickly as possible. Proactively reach out to students to check in. Praise and validate as much as you can. Post in discussions and other communal spaces often. When students have confidence that you are present and paying attention, they will mimic that behavior and begin to work more independently.

Step 4 - Designing Assessments

  1. Online learning presents an opportunity for authentic performance assessments in which students have to apply their knowledge and skills to novel settings.

    1. How can my students apply their knowledge?

    2. How can my students create something as a way to demonstrate their understanding?

    3. How can I create opportunities for students to justify a stand or decision?  

  2. Designing Assessments:

    1. Students should publish work and perhaps teach others

    2. Useful guidelines in crafting assessments


    3. Using EdPuzzle:

    4. Digital Tools for Assessment:

    5. In the spirit of humanizing the online space, giving feedback via audio or video allows students to hear and see you as you talk about their work. Screencasting tools like Loom (Links to an external site.) and audio tools like Kaizena (Links to an external site.)can support multimedia feedback.

    6. Avoid trying to grade everything. Instead, focus on how you can deliver actionable formative feedback. Be strategic about what, where, and why. And, be sure that you time your feedback such that it actually is formative and students can use it when they continue their work.

Other Resources:

Zoom Webinars - Live webinars and recorded sessions to see how best to host a Zoom class.

College Board Plans for AP - The College Board will offer online testing for students starting in the late spring with a shortened 45 minute test.  We won’t require it of Hun students but some will still want to take it so please try to provide them resources to study once we know the basic criteria of the tests.