Generally understood as the theory and practice of teaching, pedagogy refers to the teaching process and how instructors approach teaching and learning using a specific curriculum with specific goals in mind. Traditional pedagogy refers predominantly to the face to face teaching environment and the conceptual frameworks around how people learn in that particular space. Over the past few decades, conventional pedagogy has evolved to include other modalities specifically, the online environment (formerly known as Distance Learning). Most of the pedagogical practices used in the traditional face to face classroom, can be applied effectively to other modes of teaching, in online, hybrid or blended learning environments.
This section provides some pedagogical guidance and suggestions for instructors teaching in all of these environments. Regardless of the approach and learning space, effective pedagogical practices must be designed with the learner in mind in order to maximize engagement and ultimately, assessment. Refer to the research and examples presented in the areas listed in the left hand Pedagogical Practices menu.
Online and Hybrid
For those who have never taught an online or hybrid course before, the idea may seem daunting. How are teaching online/hybrid courses different from teaching a classroom-based course? How can we ensure that the same quality of instruction will be achieved online? How can we facilitate effective communication and ensure authentic assessments are implemented?
Online and hybrid education follows many of the same methods and philosophies as traditional, face-to-face (f2f) courses. There are, however, differences that invigorate a paradigmatic shift for online/hybrid educators. Compared to f2f education, online and hybrid teaching have more of a learner-centered paradigm, which, when successful, yields highly active student interaction and engagement (Harasim, 2001). The instructor’s role shifts from being “a sage on the stage” to “a guide on the side” by facilitating student learning, rather than delivering instruction.
Though technology has improved dramatically over the years to support high quality, collaborative online/hybrid teaching and learning, many of the pedagogical principles remain consistent with f2f instruction. An instructor needs to let students know about expectations for their work, participation and collaboration, as well as the instructor’s availability and approach to feedback. Appropriate online/hybrid instructional strategies should also be identified and employed in order to create a friendly, communicative and productive online environment for students. Assessment of online/hybrid students’ performance should also be properly designed to ensure student achievements.
For more guidance on designing or managing an online/hybrid course we encourage you to meet with our Instructional Designers. Visit the Information Design Consultation page to schedule an consultation.