People, Content, Technology in Course Design

Dreading days of Zoom-based conference sessions for the Association for Educational Communications & Technology’s virtual convention (#AECT20), I was hooked as speakers from all over the world shared COVID-pandemic approaches! The theme, Towards Culturally-Situated Learning Design and Research, hit home along with this priority list to meet COVID-19’s educational and societal challenges:

People first. Content second. Technology last.

Following are a few takeaways for implementing these priorities in online teaching and course design.


uwn-image-4For many students, this may be their first time experiencing freedom of how and when they spend time learning.  This opportunity has added challenges of helping students develop self-regulated learning strategies. 

Connecting with peers, family, friends, and creating community in socially distanced and remote learning contexts to reduce isolation is a global need.  Pandemic effects are traumatizing to many as well, increasing this need to be and stay connected.  


Students value learning when it’s clearly relevant their future, supporting them as they power through their learning challenges.  Relevance and authentic assessment is critical in an environment filled with traumatic events and high stakes politics.  


Once relevant content is narrowed down and authentic activities selected, choosing the right technology ensures increased access for all students. is always happy to help you with your ideas as you (and your students) go forward into this new and constantly shifting educational climate.  

From the “national and international voice for improvement of instruction and the most recognized association of information concerning a wide range of instructional and educational technology,” (AECT, 2020) this clear message of people, content, technology threaded its way through the presentations.  I am thankful for all of the presenters who shared in this virtual conference, the support from Ferris allowing me the time to attend, and the many Ferris faculty and adjuncts who already demonstrate these skills in their teaching.  

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