HFT Summer Academy, online teaching

HFT Week Four: Learning and Practicing in Canvas (part 2)

An interesting thing happened on the way to this week, and it reminds me about an important but often completely overlooked aspect of teaching online. And that is, the silence of online instruction. Because, just as students find themselves alone in class (at their dining room tables, desks, or in bed), so do teachers find themselves speaking into what sometimes seems a void.

Teaching fully online is a primarily asynchronous endeavor, and leaves us both entirely out of step with students and their movement through learning, and also in a position to create pacing, a rhythm for learning punctuated by assignments, quizzes, due dates. We put our thoughts into the LMS, or upon the digital page, and we hope that students tune into the broadcast.

But sometimes, our work is met with silence. It’s difficult not to see this as a problem—either a failing on our part or on the students’—but it’s important to recognize this as a natural aspect of asynchronous learning when learners are largely autonomous, keeping their own schedules and weaving school into the midst of their sometimes turbulent lives. Silence isn’t necessarily the sound of no one paying attention; it can also be the sound of learning happening in earnest, just out of sight.

This week, we are continuing to explore Canvas. There’s a lot to do in the Canvas course—reading, discussion, even a few assignments—and I encourage you to jump in and start working your way through the material there. (Note: if you have trouble accessing Canvas through the CU Online Open sign-in, use the CU Denver Passport portal and select “Canvas” under University Resources.)

For those of you staying outside of Canvas, there are some recommended readings to explore and annotate using Hypothesis.

The HFT Summer Academy is designed to provide you the resources and food for thought that will help you be a confident, flexible hybrid or online teacher this Fall. If you have any wish at all for one-on-one help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me (sean.m.morris@ucdenver.edu) or the concierge (student.agency@ucdenver.edu).

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About Sean Michael Morris

Sean Michael Morris is the Director of Digital Pedagogy Lab and Senior Instructor in Learning, Design, and Technology at the University of Colorado Denver.
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