This fall, Lethbridge College students, faculty and staff will begin a new academic year unlike any other in the 63-year history of the college. However, the college is using a variety of techniques to help ensure instructors are well equipped to deliver the relevant, high-quality education students expect from Lethbridge College.
When classes resume in September, academic and trades programs will be offered in a flexible learning environment, meaning some courses will be offered online through a variety of technologies, while some others – such as labs and experiential learning opportunities – will take place on-campus, incorporating new physical distancing and safety protocols.
To help instructors adapt to these changes, the team at the college’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation (CTLI) has been working with the college’s teaching community to help them navigate these uncharted waters. Their work began when the COVID-19 pandemic first forced a shift to alternative delivery models in March and has continued ever since as instructors create their classes for the upcoming semester.
“We have spent the summer teaming up with departments across the college, such as Student Affairs, IT and Web Services, to build tools and resources, adjust services, trouble-shoot systems and processes and test out new software so both faculty and students have the support they need for a successful learning experience in the fall,” says Jaclyn Doherty, Dean of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation. “We know we won’t always get it perfect, but we’ll do our best to meet them where they are at, when they need it the most.”
To help faculty and instructors deal with the technological demands of the new teaching environment, CTLI has filled its learninginnovation.ca website with resources for faculty members. The CTLI team has also put together tech toolkits that include video cameras, tripods and microphones for recording lectures; Go-Pro cameras so instructors in programs such as trades or Environmental Science can offer students a first-person point of view of hands-on techniques; and iPad and Surface tablets. The team has also converted private breakout rooms in the learning commons into teaching studios where instructors can capture lessons using a variety of technologies.
In addition to technical tools and support, CTLI is also providing courses and workshops to support to Lethbridge College instructors, including the Universal Design for Learning micro-credential, and the free and open Facilitating Online Learning course that was accessed by more than a 1,000 people across Canada. CTLI has also developed teaching and learning toolkits, back to school workshops and an intensive two-week orientation for new Lethbridge College instructors.
“The resources provided for instructors by CTLI have been incredible,” says Kris Hodgson-Bright, Digital Communications and Media instructor. “The sessions for online and blended course design have created some exciting and innovative ways to deliver content where students are interacting and presenting back to the class, as well as using other active learning strategies that will keep the conversations going. They’ve also helped me to become more familiar with Zoom and ways to teach classes synchronously or asynchronously, to ensure students can work through content in the style that suits them best.”
Many trades programs began the new academic year last week, while most other programs begin classes on Sept. 9.
CTLI works collaboratively to provide a broad range of services and offers support to faculty and students from all academic centres and programs. CTLI supports excellence in teaching and learning through special initiatives like a digital collection of resources, supporting research into teaching and learning, and maintaining the college’s learning management system.