The Asynchronous Cookbook: Recipes for Interaction in Online and Hybrid Learning

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Brief Abstract

The Asynchronous Cookbook is an openly licensed resource for faculty and instructional designers to expand their knowledge and use of async activities. Meaningful interaction is the key ingredient in all recipes! Join us to learn about how the recipes can be used to help promote equitable and flexible learning design.


As the Director of Digital Pedagogy and Media at Middlebury College, my goal is to create digital learning opportunities and environments that support learner agency, inclusion, and equity. I am also keenly interested in supporting learners’ critical engagement with the discourses that surround educational technology and digital media. I received my doctorate in communication and education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2008; prior to Middlebury, I spent 10 years as a professor of Instructional Technology in the College of Education at Towson University (outside of Baltimore, MD), where I taught on ground, hybrid, and fully online courses in instructional technology and qualitative research methods. Much of this work revolved around helping teachers and administrators to make thoughtful, research-informed decisions how best to use technology to support their teaching and their students’ learning.

Extended Abstract

The Asynchronous Cookbook is an openly licensed resource for faculty and instructional designers to expand their knowledge and use of meaningful, interactive async activities in their blended or fully online courses. Working with faculty at our institution, we noticed that faculty tend to equate “asynchronous learning” with one type of interaction only - a self-paced interaction between students and content - and as a result, believe that interaction between students, and between students and instructors, is best left to synchronous modalities. We believe that asynchronous learning can provide meaningful interaction, as well as support the flexible and equitable design of learning by addressing learner variability; barriers to full participation in synchronous learning, including time zone, Internet access, accessibility, and Zoom fatigue; and the need for low-bandwidth online activities. 

The recipes in the cookbook draw on online learning research and good practice to provide concise, specific instructions and examples for a variety of activity types. Meaningful interaction between students, and students and instructors, is the key ingredient in all the recipes! In this presentation, we’ll talk about how we designed the cookbook as a resource for faculty looking for more async activities to add to their repertoire, and share some of our popular recipes.

To help engage our audience, we will ask them to share their experiences with supporting faculty to develop meaningful asynchronous learning opportunities, as well as any recommendations they have for new recipes for the cookbook. We hope that attendees leave our session with:

  • An idea of what meaningful, equitable asynchronous interaction can look like in action.

  • Some inspiration for designing their own asynchronous online activities, and how those activities might be shared out with their colleagues and institution.