When adapting residential courses for the online format, each component of the course content, design, delivery, and technology is chosen deliberately. While the syllabus, topics, and course materials are the same across formats, the presentation and class-time activities differ to best accommodate remote learning. Honan introduced more multimedia and video resources—both pre-existing ones and ones that he has created for his courses—in recent years. His teaching team also utilizes a range of approaches to facilitate and deepen online interactions, including breakout rooms (convened in pairs, trios, learning teams of 5-6 students, etc.), brief summaries/reports produced in small groups to drive online case discussions, and the use of live online visits by experts and case protagonists. Many of these digital resources were built for the online classroom but are also staples in his in-person courses as well.
“The pedagogy must drive the technology, not the other way around.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, students understood that pivoting to an online format would be challenging. After two years of practice, students’ expectations have now risen. Technology glitches and unused airtime are bothersome. To avoid these issues, Honan and his teaching team work closely with HGSE’s IT department staff for his remote classes, and they plan each course session down to the minute, assigning each teaching team member specific responsibilities for class-time. The teaching team talks through each class meeting in advance to ensure the sessions run as smoothly as possible. Honan credits his highly skilled teaching team, including teaching fellows, his faculty assistant, HGSE IT staff, Gutman Library staff, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Learning Incubator (he was a Learning Incubator Faculty Fellow in 2020-21) for their ongoing coaching, course design, and delivery assistance. Honan has been working with many members of his team for years, and he encourages other instructors to cultivate a team approach.
When adapting a residential course for an online format, be intentional about each component of the course design, content, and delivery, consider how to leverage technology, and be mindful and intentional about the creation of a productive and supportive learning community. Effective online instruction requires a highly skilled teaching team. Remember to let the pedagogy be your guide.