2.1. Situational Factors
This diagram comes from L. Dee Fink’s work (2013), and is especially useful for our current circumstances. It shows how Situational Factors undergird all of our course design choices. In normal times, these situational factors include things like your student population, the location of your course in the larger curriculum, and the length of your semester. Now, though, we must add new factors: the need to be ready to transition between different modalities, the reality that some of your students will be remote for some or all of the semester, and the need to create as equitable of a class as possible for students who may be having vastly different experiences of the Covid crisis.
We suggest that, as you embark on a reconsideration of your course design, you take a few moments to take a clear-eyed view of these situational factors as well as any others that may be specific to your course. These may impact your choices about learning goals, and should certainly inform the ways you assess your students and the activities you use day to day in your classes. In the Learning Goals section, we consider those aspects of course redesign in greater depth.