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ACM Creates Workshop Series on Online Course Design and Pedagogies

Published: September 18, 2020

ACM Creates Workshop Series on Online Course Design and Pedagogies

Faculty and staff from across the ACM presented eight workshop sessions on Online Course Design and Pedagogies, now available for streaming.


Following the abrupt shift to remote learning last spring, the ACM developed a summer workshop series to enhance online course design and pedagogy. The eight-week series is now available for streaming to all liberal arts educators.


While the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) and its 14 member colleges are deeply committed to residential liberal arts education, COVID-19 has required the consortium to think outside the classroom.

In response to the uncertainty around navigating in-person, remote, or hybrid teaching methods this fall, the ACM offered its members an Online Course Design and Pedagogies Workshop over the summer. The full series is now available for streaming, with the intention that it could benefit other liberal arts educators, colleges, and consortia.

The series aims to deliver the concepts, skills, and techniques through which liberal arts faculty and academic support staff can redesign and reimagine residential face-to-face course content for the online environment. Over eight weeks, ACM faculty and staff presented frameworks, concepts, promising practices, and strategies for successfully navigating relevant topics, including:

  • Teaching and learning with care and hope: Ways of being with crisis, trauma, and uncertainty in the classroom and beyond
  • The liberal arts mindset at a distance: Tactics for building a hybrid course
  • Reimagining your syllabus for responsiveness: Aligning goals, assessment, and strategies for teaching
  • Developing effective assignments for the hybrid context and beyond
  • Design your course once for multiple modalities
  • Considerations for hands-on/performance/embodied experiences in remote learning environments
  • Fostering student collaboration and group work in remote and socially distanced learning environments

Created By and For Liberal Arts Educators

At the request of the ACM’s Advisory Board of Deans following the abrupt shift to online learning last spring, a planning group of faculty, librarians, and instructional technologists quickly came together to frame the content for the workshops. Members of the planning group and other faculty and staff from across the consortium then led the weekly workshop sessions. In total, 32 faculty and staff from all 14 ACM colleges were actively involved in the planning and execution of one or more sessions.

“In addition to supporting ACM faculty as they prepare for the online and hybrid environments in which they will be teaching this fall, we hope these workshops can benefit other educators and their students throughout the liberal arts landscape.”

Brian Williams, Vice President for Faculty Development and Grant Programs

Nearly 800 faculty and staff participated in one or more sessions over the course of two months, with a total of 2,330 session registrations. By offering critical content each Monday followed by intimate breakout groups on Fridays, participants were able to process new concepts, strategize with their peers, and see that they are not alone.

“The entire workshop series was a case study in collaborative design and execution,” said Brian Williams, Vice President for Faculty Development and Grant Programs at the ACM. “The results we achieved simply would not have been possible without the contributions of everyone who participated in one way or another.”

Measuring and Replicating Success

Qualitative and quantitative feedback from the workshop participants indicate that the series offered significant value to ACM faculty and staff as they prepared for the fall term. Of the faculty and staff who participated, 60 percent took part in more than one session, and 97 percent were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the series. In addition, 73 percent of participants said that the online offerings deepened their connection with their colleagues across the ACM.

"These workshops have been terrific. I'm very grateful to all our ACM colleagues for their efforts here. Seriously—so good, so useful, so inspiring."

Regula "Re" Evitt, Associate Professor of English, Colorado College

"These workshops have been terrific," said Regula "Re" Evitt, Associate Professor of English at Colorado College. "I'm very grateful to all our ACM colleagues for their efforts here. Seriously—so good, so useful, so inspiring."

“The ACM consortial office is pleased that the workshop series was so well received among ACM faculty and staff, and we recognize the planning team’s and presenters’ willingness to work at rapid speed to launch the series and make it so successful,” said Williams. “In addition to supporting ACM faculty as they prepare for the online and hybrid environments in which they will be teaching this fall, we hope these workshops can benefit other educators and their students throughout the liberal arts landscape.”

“These workshops demonstrate the ACM's ability to be nimble and quickly respond to the needs of the consortium,” said ACM President Sonya Malunda. “We look forward to building on this community of nearly 800 engaged faculty and working with ACM deans and board members to create robust professional development offerings on other timely, relevant topics.”

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