Teaching Remotely

designing assignments


August 25, 2020

Why choose asynchronous?

By Aimee Kelly, Reed Garber-Pearson, and Sara Vannini, UW Integrated Social Sciences

Since February 2020, most classes around the globe have moved online. Higher education is preparing for continued online and hybrid models of instruction and learning going forward. We want to advocate for examining course design more critically. What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous? Why should instructors choose one or the other?


Strategies for successful asynchronous courses

By Aimee Kelly, Reed Garber-Pearson, Sara Vannini, UW Integrated Social Sciences

A well-developed asynchronous learning experience usually requires significant work before the quarter begins. It is critical to align the overall course objectives, the individual lesson objectives, and associated course materials and assignments to create a coherent structure.


Take-away strategies for asynchronous online learning

By Aimee Kelly, Reed Garber-Pearson, Sara Vannini, UW Integrated Social Sciences

Strategies for asynchronous online learning from the Integrated Social Sciences Program, including: thinking about your lessons in terms of a flipped classroom environment, designing a space to foster social learning and community building, and working on your instructor presence.


July 30, 2020

Using Team Operating Rules to foster collaboration

By Jennifer Diamond and Julie Scales, Project Management Certificate (UW Professional & Continuing Education, Continuum College)

Collaborative projects are a key component of many UW courses. But before project work begins, teams need to connect, set ground rules, and articulate norms for shared work and outcomes. For the Certificate in Project Management capstone course, we developed an assignment that models this activity.


July 23, 2020

Online finals: Providing flexibility & opportunities for creativity

By Ileana M. Rodríguez-Silva, History

For HSTLAC 289: The Cuban Revolutionary Experiment, I initially planned to offer a final exam, similar to the mid-term, but changed my mind. Instead, I asked my 26 students to do a final assignment.

The final assignment prompted students to pretend to be a TA for an upcoming study abroad program taking a group of Environmental Studies undergraduates to Cuba for two weeks. Because students had more autonomy for this assignment, they engaged with the material differently.


June 3, 2020

Flexible finals in the pandemic

By Holly Barker, Anthropology

Research in Critical Sport Studies (ANTH 269) is a course for first-generation to college and/or students underrepresented in research. I don’t give midterms, and I don’t give final exams in the class. Instead, I collaborate with students to create final projects that apply their learning from the class in ways that are meaningful or practical to them.


June 2, 2020

Art is a dialogue

By Timea Tihanyi, School of Art + Art History + Design

Because art is a dialogue, much of what the Interdisciplinary Visual Arts seniors have been doing in ART 400 this quarter has been synchronous. Instead of the white-box gallery exhibition, students are presenting their work in a virtual “gallery” for which each student created both a senior project and an art portfolio website. By still presenting the work publicly, we’re trying to create a sense of normalcy.


May 28, 2020

Teaching Spanish: A multi-day “finale” instead of a final exam

Samuel Jaffee, Spanish and Portuguese Studies

By Samuel Jaffee, Spanish & Portuguese Studies 

This spring quarter I’m teaching Spanish 302 and Spanish 303, both of which guide students in developing writing strategies in Spanish (creative fiction, business letters, reportage, argument and counterargument, and literary and visual analysis). In lieu of a final exam, both classes will enjoy a multi-day “finale.”


April 23, 2020

Teaching physics: Videos instead of midterms

By Peter Selkin, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Tacoma.

For the past two quarters, I’ve used an approach based on an idea adapted from Andy Rundquist, a physics professor at Hamline University in Minnesota. Instead of a midterm and a final (and in addition to weekly content quizzes), students submit short videos walking the viewer through solutions to physics problems of their choice.


April 21, 2020

Math in the time of coronavirus

By Jennifer Quinn, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at UW Tacoma 

The COVID-19 viral disruption affects us all, particularly our most vulnerable citizens. It’s vital to find ways to connect our students and humanize this unprecedented and isolating experience. These days I’m trying to worry less about the integrity of online examinations and the quality of online content — and think more about the people.