Building Flexible Learning Opportunities for an Uncertain Future

Concurrent Session 6 & 7 (combined)
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

In an unprecedented world where so much is uncertain, and at a time when instructors and students are not sure about the future of education, it is essential to design for flexibility and options for participating across a range of modalities. Building off the Right-Mixing framework ( we will explore real and practical ways in which instructors can design courses that are flexible and can pivot easily for a variety of modalities and learner needs. Design it once and use it to fit a wide range of instructors' and students' needs and abilities to participate.


Dr. Tawnya Means is the Assistant Dean for Educational Innovation and Chief Learning Officer in the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Prior to this role, Tawnya served as the Assistant Dean and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center for the College of Business at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida, leading teaching and learning support and providing faculty development programs and resources for instructional innovation and adoption of pedagogical best practices. With 20 years of experience in higher education, course design, and educational consulting, Tawnya has also taught courses in entrepreneurship, strategy, technology, and leadership in remote teams. Dr. Means received her B.S. in Education, M.S. in Educational Technology, and Ph.D. in Information Science and Learning Technologies with an emphasis on learning systems design, all from the University of Missouri. She completed the AACSB Post-doctoral bridge program in Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida. Her research interests are in online and blended learning, active learning, learning space design, technology for teaching, access to digital learning resources, and faculty preparation to teach. She has long been a leader in campus initiatives and committees and actively presents at conferences and other institutions and organizations on technology-enhanced learning.

Extended Abstract

The current pandemic has pushed many past the barrier of 'you can't teach [fill in your discipline or topic] online' and helped many to see that blended and flexible learning is not only necessary, but when done well, a good learning experience that expands access and adaptability. With the changes required for continuity of educational delivery have provided the opportunity to provide online and blended learning experiences that can enhance and “right-size” education, creating a personalized and engaging experience for students. However, many faculty are concerned that requirements to teach in various modalities to meet health concerns in a pandemic will increase their workload and require them to teach their course in multiple formats. Faculty ask questions regarding, ‘what should happen in person, and what should happen online?,’ and ‘how can the online and in-person experiences support each other to best teach students?,’ ‘what is the right mix?,’ and most importantly 'how do I plan my teaching?'. In this workshop, using the Right-Mixing framework (, participants will learn about the right-mixing framework, receive guided hands-on time to explore practical teaching and engagement methods and tools, and collect feedback from peers to make course design decisions about how to appropriately select the right mix for optimal learning activities.

Session participants will:
1) become familiar with the Right-Mixing framework
2) analyze a learning activity using the framework
3) identify practical solutions for teaching the topic to students in multiple modalities
4) receive feedback on learning activity ideas