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Every Learner Everywhere
Online Learning Consortium
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Optimizing High-Quality Digital Learning Experiences: A Playbook for Faculty

High-quality digital learning experiences are built on the foundational principles of providing equitable, inclusive, accessible learning environments for all students. In addition, high-quality digital learning experiences are well-organized and thoughtfully designed. These experiences rely on instructional design principles and strategies to align learning outcomes with learning assignments, activities, and assessment practices. In these ways, high-quality digital courses provide robust learning experiences for students, not only through strategic design, but also through integrating intentional opportunities for community-building and interaction in the digital environment.

Student and faculty feedback from remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic further revealed an equity gap and became a call to action to focus on optimizing the quality of digital learning experiences for minoritized students. As a result, more than ever before, it is now essential that faculty meet the learning needs of minoritized students through effective digital course design and teaching strategies. Building on these principles and the urgency to provide improved and equitable digital learning, the focus of this playbook is to help faculty strategically embed technologies with learning outcomes to amplify the effectiveness of student learning experiences, especially for minoritized students.

Optimizing online learning experiences to ensure equity, inclusivity, and accessibility, particularly for minoritized students, is a continuous process with many benefits:

  • limiting potential academic disruption if the course modality unexpectedly shifts
  • providing students course materials in efficient and accessible ways
  • giving students more flexibility, control, and options regarding when and how they learn
  • allowing faculty to engage in the process of building their courses over time

Optimizing High-Quality Digital Learning Experiences: A Playbook for Faculty aims to guide faculty in thinking and designing strategically to amplify the opportunities the online environment provides in both their digital spaces and physical classrooms. By integrating teaching and design principles, this guide assists faculty in positively impacting student learning, especially for students who are minoritized because of race, gender, disability, or socioeconomic status.

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