Alternate Delivery: Design

This section contains a variety of resources that will guide the large-scale planning of your Alternate Delivery course, though a focus the key concepts and guiding principles that underlie all such courses. Additional resources assist with the development of the Learning Plan and selection strategies for learning technologies.

Concepts and Definitions

In order to engage in creating and teaching a course in Alternate Delivery, it is vital to understand exactly what Alternate Delivery means at St. Lawrence College. Alternate Delivery is one of several delivery modalities (e.g., Fully Online, Hybrid, Blended/Mobile, Alternate Delivery) that describe mix of online and in-person instructional activities, the use of particular technologies or levels of technology, and the level of guidance provided by the Program Planning Development and Renewal department in the design, creation, and facilitation of the course. Alternate Delivery can be defined as using “web resources and technologies to facilitate and contribute to the learning that essentially takes place in a face-to-face course through the use of tools available through learning management and video conferencing systems”.

In addition to understanding what Alternate Delivery is, it is important to recognize the two primary instructional methods used in this modality: Synchronous and Asynchronous instruction. Synchronous instruction encompasses teaching and assessment activities that faculty members and student engage in simultaneously. In the context of Alternate Delivery, this Synchronous instruction typically means the use of video conferencing tools in MS Teams to provide information (i.e., through lecture) and facilitate learning activities and assessments. Asynchronous instruction includes teaching and assessment activities that faculty members build in advance and that student engage with at a time of their choosing during a given time framework (e.g., during a particular week of the course). These activities are typically facilitated in the learning management system (i.e., Blackboard).

Guiding Questions and Principles

As you design and build your course, consider the question below. These questions are not specific to Alternate Delivery. Rather, they are things that should always be considered, regardless of the delivery modality.

  • What should students know or be able to do by the end of the course?

  • How will you know when they’ve acquired those skills and knowledge?

  • What developmental steps do students need to take, and how do you enable students to improve?

These guiding principles are more unique to developing a course for Alternate Delivery.

  • KISS (Keep it simple and strategic) – Preparing a course for Alternate Delivery can be a daunting task. Be cautious of over-burdening yourself with too many changes to the course structure, content, and assessments. Similarly, be careful to not overwhelm yourself by attempting to learn too many new technologies. Focus on finding alternative approaches for what has already been successful in your face-to-face implementations of this course. Aim to use a handful of tech tools and to become very fluent in those few.

  • Be purposeful with every course element you design and build – Every reading, video, lecture, learning activity, and assessment should be carefully choreographed to develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes students need to be successful in the course. Don’t weigh yourself and students down with too much additional material that lies outside of the goals articulated in the Course Learning Outcomes.

  • Consider tech tools – For each element of your course, particularly if you are working with a course that you have already taught in a typical face-to-face format, consider which learning technology you will use to implement that element. This is important so that you don’t make design decision that cannot be achieved with the available technologies. See the Available Learning Technologies section below for more info.

Developing your Learning Plan

The Learning Plan is one of two central documents that guide the goals of the course and describe how students will reach those goals. The other document, the Course Outline, is typically static and is only updated every few years as part of a concerted curriculum renewal effort by an entire program team. The Course Outline central function is to articulate the Course Learning Outcomes, which are the learning goals that all students in a course are expected to achieve. Based on the principles of Backwards Design and Constructive Alignment, the Course Learning Outcomes guide the creation of the Learning Plan, which is primarily made up of an Assessment Table and Delivery Schedule. Assessments, as captured in the Assessment Table, should allow students to demonstrate their proficiency with the Course Learning Outcomes. Similarly, the learning materials and activities detailed in the Delivery Schedule should provide students with the information and opportunities to practice and receive feedback that will enable them to achieve the Course Learning Outcomes.

Creation of a Learning Plan for an Alternate Delivery course is no different than for a face-to-face course. Please refer to the Learning Plan Section for more information about how to complete this document.

Available Learning Technologies

There are five core learning technologies available to support Alternate Delivery courses at SLC. This document provides an overview of the tools, their functions, and connections to various instructional activities.

Blackboard

This is the learning management system, which is the core asynchronous instructional tool and is the hub for everything that occurs in a course. Its primary functions include the following:

  • Content (e.g., documents, digital print resources, images, etc.) delivery

  • Communication

  • Assignment submission

  • Quizzing and testing

  • Grading, feedback, and evaluation

Panopto

This is the college’s main video creation and streaming service. It is most frequently an asynchronous learning tool. Its core functions include the following:

  • Video sharing

  • Video creation

  • Video editing

  • Student video submissions

  • Embedded quizzing

MS Teams

Microsoft Teams is the central tool for synchronous instruction. It is used for the following:

  • Video conferencing and live chat

  • Breakout groups

  • Groups collaboration

  • Screen sharing

  • Embedded surveys/Forms

Office 365

Office 365 includes numerous well-known applications including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Additionally, it also includes OneNote, a note-taking and collaborative document tools; Sway, an online presentation and content delivery tool; and Forms, a simple yet powerful survey tool that is directly integrated into the Teams chat function.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is available to all faculty, staff, and students. It provides thousands of instruction videos on a variety of topics. Learning paths can be created for students to follow, and the videos can be linked directly into Blackboard.

Design Checklist

The following list provides a summary of the recommended steps to complete the Design phase of creating an Alternate Delivery course.

  • Review Course Learning Outcomes

  • Draft Assessment Plan

  • Plan Module Structure and blend of Synchronous and Asynchronous elements

  • Assemble Resources to support achievement of CLOs

  • Create Learning Activities to develop skills and knowledge

  • Identify required Learning Technologies