SDSU Flexible Course Design Institute Modules

Course Description: SDSU Flexible Course Design Institute (Flex-CDI) provides customized training for faculty who will be integrating into their courses moving forward the teaching strategies gained from a year of online teaching in AY20/21. The Institute consists of five REQUIRED modules — fostering social presence and community, lessons learned from pandemic teaching (new to August 2021 session), aligning course learning outcomes (CLOs)-Activities-Assessment, designing an inclusive and equitable virtual classroom, and universal design for learning — and three elective modules, chosen from more than ten options (based on participant need/interest): Canvas; Google Workspace; Promoting Academic Integrity and Meaningful/Authentic Assessment; Providing Feedback and Adopting Timesaving Grading Strategies; Developing Media and Recording Lectures in Zoom; Promoting Student Engagement with Videos using PlayPosit and Canvas Studio; Making the Library Work for You; Scaling Up for Large Online Courses; Visual Interactive Projects with Adobe Creative Cloud; Connected Classrooms; and Helping Your Students Succeed in “Post-Covid” Academe. Each module is constructed and facilitated by an expert designer and follows a content / action / interaction / reflection pattern modeling good practice in online instruction.


The Institute will provide support for faculty as they:

  • ALIGN goals, activities, and assessments to optimize for online learning.
  • DEVELOP active learning strategies that transcend modalities (from face-to-face to fully online).
  • INVESTIGATE inclusive and equity-minded framework while designing for the online learning environment.
  • EXPLORE the effective use of asynchronous learning objects (websites, videos, in-video quizzing, etc.).
  • FOSTER skills and strategies for synchronous engagement in online courses.

And new-to-Summer-2021, the Flex-CDI supports faculty as they:

  • APPLY “lessons learned” from a year of online teaching and learning to a range of face-to-face modalities in Fall 2021.
  • SHARE stories and examples (i.e. activities, assignments, and Canvas courses) of how teaching has evolved in AY 20/21.
  • FOSTER dynamic active learning in new campus spaces by leveraging strategies used in, and materials developed for, online teaching.
  • DEVELOP flexible assessment strategies that can adjust to unexpected changes in modality and available tools.



M1. Fostering Social Presence and Community in Online Modality 

(Beth Pollard and Andrea Saltzman Martin)

What can faculty do to ensure their online courses get off to a great start? This first module includes the live “kick-off” session on day one of the training. Topics and activities focus on setting clear course expectations, cultivating social presence, and fostering community.

M2. Aligning CLOs, Activities, and Assessments 

(Beth Pollard)

Clear connections between course learning outcomes (CLOs), the content and activities students engage in pursuit of those outcomes, and the assessments that measure student achievement of those outcomes are at the heart of every course, whether face-to-face, hybrid, or online. Participants will explore how to apply backward design and course-mapping to ensure everything in their course is happening for a reason that is apparent to, and meaningful for, participants.

M3. Designing an Inclusive and Equitable Virtual Classroom  

(Jennifer Imazeki)

How can we ensure that we are reaching all of our students, particularly given the diversity of SDSU students (along a multitude of dimensions)? This module reviews core principles of inclusive teaching and explores specific strategies to keep diverse students connected and learning in an online environment.

M4. Universal Design for Learning 

(Jon Rizzo)

How can faculty members utilize teaching and learning strategies that enable ALL students to succeed, including disabled students, students for whom English is their second language, and students with other accommodation needs? This module provides faculty with empirically-backed, pragmatic strategies to reach this goal.

M1B. Lessons Learned from Pandemic Teaching

(Peter Blomgren and Beth Pollard)

As we prepare to pivot back to “mostly” face-to-face instruction after more than a year of pandemic-induced online teaching; what are some “best practices” we can incorporate moving forward? Now that the online “cat” is out of the bag, how much of a return to “traditional instruction” is realistic, or even desirable? The past 2.5 semesters have catalyzed innovation both in terms of technology and pedagogy. This module encourages participants to reflect on the lessons learned from pandemic teaching, and to strategize on how to leverage those “lessons learned” and freshly developed materials.  As with M1A, Module 1B includes a required, live/synchronous session.


THREE ELECTIVE MODULES (participants choose three, from list below):

5. Getting Started with Canvas/Getting Fancy with Canvas 

(Andrea Saltzman Martin)

If you are completely new to Canvas, this module cultivates familiarity with SDSU’s newly-adopted learning management system, including creating your profile, posting your syllabus, communicating with students, and several other basic features. You will also learn how to post learning modules that contain content, interactive activities, and assessments.

6. Collaborating with Google Workspace

(Rebecca Frazee) 

Trying to figure out some strategies to make your face-to-face “group work” work in the online environment?Learn how to use Google Workspace to promote engaged collaborative learning through creative integration of slides, sheets, and documents; as well as, learn how to use calendar to schedule meetings to interact with students.

7. Promoting Academic Integrity and Meaningful/Authentic Assessment

(Andrea Saltzman Martin and Beth Pollard)

Concerned about the integrity of your low-, mid-, and high-stakes testing? This module explores a range of online testing and proctoring options, from the use of question pools in the LMS to video-proctored testing (via Respondus Monitor).

8. Providing Feedback and Adopting Timesaving Grading Strategies  — Turnitin and Rubric-based Grading 

(Katie Hughes) 

Turnitin is so much more than a plagiarism checker!  Learn how to use this software (and rubrics, through Turnitin and Canvas) to offer meaningful formative and summative feedback to students and to facilitate student peer review of one another’s work.

9. Developing Media and Recording Lectures in Zoom

(ITS Staff)

Many of us have learned how to hit the “record” button in Zoom; but do you know the advanced recording features and other affordances of Zoom (including closed-captioning/transcription, polling, and breakout rooms)? What other software is available for recording and editing your videos? This module demonstrates basic and advanced Zoom options, and provides options of other media hosting, video recording, and editing software.

10. Promoting Student Engagement with Videos and In-Video Quizzing using Canvas Studio or PlayPosit 

(Stuart Voytilla)

How many times have you wondered if students are viewing the video content you provide?  Don’t you wish you could easily customize your videos so students answer questions or share comments, actively engaging rather than passively watching your prepared videos?  This module demonstrates how to use PlayPosit and Canvas Studio to foster student engagement of your video content.

11. Making the Library Work for You: Library and Open Educational Resource Course Materials and Designing Research Assignments 

(Kate Holvoet and Rebecca Nowicki)

How can the Library help faculty teaching remotely? Kate Holvoet, Electronic Resources Librarian, will show you how to find no cost Open Educational Resources and identify library resources that work well as required course materials. Rebecca Nowicki, Online Learning Librarian, will lead you through a discussion of information literacy and how to effectively structure student research assignments to support students and encourage them to take advantage of high quality resources.

12. Conducting Online Labs and Simulations 

(Ken Arnold) * This module is NOT OFFERED in August 2021

How do students conduct laboratory experiments and simulations in the online environment? This module explores virtual and hands-on strategies (lab kits shipped by bookstore,  at-home lab supplies, simulations, lab monitoring, and video demonstrations) for teaching lab classes.

13. Scaling Up Online 

(Mark Laumakis and Peter Blomgren)

Many of the management and engagement strategies adopted by teachers of large face-to-face courses transfer very well to virtual learning.  This module provides tips for teaching large (120+) enrollment courses online, including communication, testing, automation (including technologies like Gradescope), and self-care.

14. Teaching Languages Online 

(Kristin Rebien) * This module is NOT OFFERED in August 2021

Language instruction includes a host of unique challenges when moving to the online modality. This module explores strategies to address issues such as facilitating student interactions (with the instructor and with one another) to promote community,  designing authentic assessments of language acquisition, and negotiating the challenges of languages (like Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, etc) that use a non-Latin alphabet.

15. Applying Hybrid-Flexible (HyFlex) Principles

(Brian Beatty) * This module is NOT OFFERED in August 2021

Developed by Brian Beatty (SFSU, Associate Professor of Instructional Technologies), refers to courses that make use of multiple modalities for student engagement and provide students flexibility in choosing their participation mode. Learn to apply these principles in your courses, whether your multiple modalities are a blend of synchronous and asynchronous online interactions or a mix of online and face-to-face (for the few lab, studio, and other exceptions designated by the university in Fall 2020).

16. Visual Interactive Projects with Adobe Creative Cloud

(Nate Rodriguez)

How can instructors use Adobe applications in their teaching and have students create interactive, visual-centric projects? This module demonstrates how to use the Adobe Creative Cloud (free for SDSU students, staff, and faculty) to create projects across disciplines. Topics covered include: Spark websites, social media posts/graphics, and spark videos.

17. Connected Classrooms

(Valerie Alexandra, Rudy Arias, and Aurora Velasco)

What is the range of technology in the podium of your “Connected Classroom” and how can you use it for everything from capturing your lectures to balancing (if you should choose) students participating via Zoom and face-to-face. This module acquaints participants with the technological affordances of SDSU’s “connected classrooms” and encourages faculty to envision creative ways to work the technology at their fingertips.

18.Helping Your Students Succeed in “Post-Covid” Academe 

(Jennifer Imazeki and Beth Pollard)

What challenges will students face as they return to classes in Fall 2021 after a year of online learning and how can faculty help students overcome those challenges? This module familiarizes faculty with problems students might face as they return to campus (or continue distance-learning as others return to face-to-face instruction) and offers solutions — such as Economic Crisis Response Team (ECRT), student help-desk, Canvas student support, strategies to support students whose college readiness has been impacted by a year of pandemic learning, and preparation for creating a welcoming and inclusive classroom — that faculty can share with their students in order to help them succeed.

Instructional Technology Services
Adams Humanities, 1st Floor
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Dr.
San Diego, CA 92182-8114

Click to open a larger map

Summer and Breaks
Faculty Support: 8am - 4:30pm daily
Classroom Support: 7:30am - 4pm daily