Resilient teaching is the ability to facilitate learning experiences that are designed to be adaptable to fluctuating conditions and disruptions. This teaching ability can be seen as an outcome of a design approach that attends to the relationship between learning goals and activities, and the environments they are situated in. Resilient teaching approaches take into account how a dynamic learning context may require new forms of interactions between teachers, students, content, and tools. Additionally, they necessitate the capacity to rethink the design of learning experiences based on a nuanced understanding of context.
The course is designed with higher education faculty, lecturers, and graduate student instructors in mind, but may also be applicable to educators in a wide variety of instructional environments. The course is aimed at participants who may be asked to rethink how they teach in the immediate or near future due to the ever-changing circumstances of the current COVID-19 pandemic. While the creation of this course is motivated by the current crisis, we expect it will remain relevant to instructors who are faced with disruptions and change to their teaching for any number of reasons and must quickly adapt their course designs.
To support learning and reflection, we are introducing a new journaling tool within the course that provides a place for participants to reflect on their own experiences. To support community growth, participants can choose to share their journal entries with the wider course community in an interactive gallery space.
Towards a Resilient Pedagogy
We take a brief look in our “rearview mirror” and reflect on the challenges of the emergency remote teaching phase that was prompted by the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. We then look to “the horizon line” and make a case for why we need a resilient approach to course design now more than ever. We do this by examining characteristics of a wide range of potential instructional scenarios that will impact how students and faculty teach and learn. We then examine the construct of “resilience” and situate it within a range of disciplines in order to be able to articulate key characteristics of resilient design.
Principles of Resilient Design for Learning
We examine a systems design approach in order to be able to identify key components of a system. We then consider how system components relate to course design. Building on this, we use ideas from education, such as the interactions triangle and universal design for learning as we move towards articulating principles of resilient design for learning. We define and articulate three guiding principles for resilient design for learning: designing for extensibility, designing for flexibility, and designing for redundancy.
A Worked Example
We hear from Professor Chris Quintana who describes the characteristics, challenges, and context of a course he will be teaching next semester. We follow a worked example of how Professor Quintana is using the instructional triangle and the three guiding principles of resilient design for learning to inform course design decisions. Participants reflect on their own course design contexts and use these reflections as the basis of a peer-graded resilient teaching plan.
Case Studies of Resilient Teaching
We are introduced to a care-centered model of instruction as an alternative but complementary frame for considering how instructors can foreground learner-centered pedagogical approaches through times of crisis and change. We examine a range of brief case studies that highlight inspiring examples from instructors who reflect on their experiences during the remote teaching phase and consider how both care-centered approaches and principles of resilient design for learning are evidenced in these examples.