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Redesigning Activities

It's important to note that as we shift to remote delivery, we can't simply move what we would've done in the classroom to the digital space. When redesigning activities, be certain you are clear about the learning outcomes you are preparing students to meet. Education consultants and learning technology strategists are available to help you make design decisions. For support, contact

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Delivery

Synchronous online delivery is especially challenging for students who do not own the necessary devices (e.g., computers) or have unreliable access to the internet, those who have additional responsibilities during the public health crisis (e.g., children at home or elderly parents to care for), and those who are in different time zones (e.g., international students who are currently unable to fly to Canada). While we do recognize that some programs and teaching and learning activities do require synchronous delivery, where possible we urge faculty to design their courses for asynchronous remote delivery.

Ten tips for redesigning course activities

  1. It is not possible to recreate your face-to-face class online. Don’t try to. Try instead to decide what it is that your students still need to learn and how you can support that.
  2. Revisit your learning outcomes. What matters now is only those outcomes that have not yet been achieved. Prioritize care over content and coverage.
  3. Keep things simple. Now is not the time for you or your students to ascend a steep learning curve or learn a lot of new technology.
  4. Planning to use BigBlueButton? Consider micro-lectures. Three hours is too long to be online and learning does not have to be synchronous to be effective. Students who do not own expensive devices will really appreciate asynchronous options. 
  5. This time next year, your students will likely not remember a lot of the material you're trying to cover during this time, but they will remember the connection you built with them. They will remember your flexibility, generosity and compassion.
  6. Provide sample discussion posts and other clear examples for participation activities. Knowing what type of response you're looking for will reduce student anxiety and prevent students from misinterpreting your prompt. 
  7. Webquests are a great low-effort way to engage students online. Ask students to find the answer to a complicated question that requires them to do some research. Have them post their answer and resources to a discussion forum in Moodle. For example, "Before Friday at 12pm please post the answer (with links to references) to the question: What is the relationship between mental imagery abilities and episodic memory?" 
  8. If you do want to use technology for teaching and learning, remember that more people have smartphones than computers and think about how you can use your smartphone to redesign activities.
  9. Solicit student feedback on the shift to remote learning and design an activity collaboratively. Students may find it meaningful to pull in information from media and may suggest novel ways of demonstrating their knowledge that are in line with the new learning environment.
  10. Learning independently and remotely is challenging so adjust your expectations for what your students can do.


  • Arley Cruthers (Teaching Fellow, Open Education)
  • Gina Buchanan (Senior Manager, Educational Development)
  • Gordon Cobb (Educational Consultant, Teaching with Technology)
  • Kristie Dukewich (Educational Consultant, Course Design & Assessment)
  • Leeann Waddington (Manager, Learning Technology & Educational Media)
  • Lesley McCannell (Educational Consultant, Intercultural Teaching Competency)
  • Lilach Marom (Teaching Fellow, Interculturalizaion & Internationalization)
  • Seanna Takacs (Educational Consultant, Universal Design for Learning)

Blog Posts

  • KPU Instructors Transitioning to Remote Learning: Four Faculty Share Their Stories

    Each day, we’ve been providing quick tips for faculty switching to remote instruction. To help you understand how these tips look in practice, this blog post profiles four faculty members who are tackling the challenge of moving to remote and digital delivery in different ways. If you’d like help bringing any of these ideas into your own course reach out to the Teaching and Learning team here