What’s for dinner?

Imagine sitting down to eat dinner, you look at your plate and think, is this right?  There are three servings of mashed potatoes, not three different types, but three servings of the same thing and that’s it. Are you going to enjoy that?  Teaching is the same way, we are serving up a meal to students: we have the meat portion (virtual class time), the potatoe portion (supplementary materials), and the vegetables (everything else).  We are aiming to make a variety of learning materials available to students.

If that material simply duplicates of each other, what’s the value of having it on the dinner plate?  The ‘independent study’ materials and the virtual class materials should complement, not duplicate each other.  

For example, if students have a textbook to read, and copies of slides that duplicate the textbook, and then a session that covers the same slides – what is the point of having all this?  While there may be some overlap, you want to have the material varied or focused on different aspects so that students get a better learning experience.  Depending on your course or topic that overlap in materials / ideas / examples, may be very small to mostly, but there should be some variety to it.

As instructors, our end goal of helping students achieve the learning outcomes has not changed.  What is different is how we get students there.  Each piece of material that we provide students should complement the others and drive students toward mastery of the learning outcomes. 

Our virtual classroom experience cannot be a duplication of the face to face classroom, nor should it duplicate the material we are already giving students.  As you plan your remote teaching, and the self-study materials, make sure you are building a total package that is complementary, not duplicating, and moves students toward the end goals of the course.