Project Overview

Active Learning: Online Redesign

Several studies have shown that grades and retention levels are higher for students who engage actively with course materials, which can be challenging in large passive lectures. However, advances in technology and pedagogy have created new ways by which students can interact with their instructors, peers, and course content. This has led to new opportunities for institutions to adopt online active learning approaches in a broader range of course settings.

Major project activities include:

• Developing frameworks for curriculum redesign that target effective and scalable active learning strategies in online environments.
• Building faculty and teaching assistant capacity at the local level (e.g., Divisions/Departments) to expand future active online learning.
• Providing the university community with innovative instructional tools for (a) re-use in a range of discipline areas, and (b) integration with existing learning management systems.
• Incorporating online course evaluation and data collection to inform future planning.

These activities will advance the Productivity and Innovation Fund goals of innovation, through the adoption of new cost-effective and replicable tools, and quality of learning, through the modernization of the curriculum development process with a focus on learner engagement.

The ALOR project will foster a more comprehensive approach to program redesign across U of T through:

• Support for redesign across courses through sharing of resources and planning processes.
• Leveraging of tri-campus expertise to inform and guide design of  learner-centred strategies.
• Strategic decision-making on resourcing of online course components to ensure the quality of our academic programs.

Productivity efficiencies are anticipated in the following areas:

• Flexible use of classroom facilities through introduction of online course components.
• Avoiding duplication of effort and ensuring re-usability of online instructional tools and methods.
• Use of paperless course evaluation system to reduce use of both human and material resources.

This project will follow selected best practices by adapting the course redesign model developed by the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT), an international thought leader in the use of information technology to improve student learning and reduce instructional costs.

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