top of page
New York Law School Remote Teaching and Learning Support

Pragmatic instructional support for higher education

NYLS Front.png

The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has forced many universities to transition the instruction online. To facilitate teaching and learning activities during this difficult period, this pragmatic instructional design project supports the design and implementation of remote teaching at New York Law School (NYLS). It helps NYLS faculty understand the demands and expectations of remote teaching and learning, and provides tools and design to effectively deliver their pedagogical approach. Carefully investigating multiple sources (e.g., NYLS faculty survey and interview, NYLS student survey, analysis of NYLS curriculum, best practice guidelines for online learning in higher education), the instructional design support was developed through needs assessment, definition of various learning tasks in law school, design guidelines, micro-learning templates, and sample courses. 

Project Overview

With the need for social distancing under COVID-19 outbreak, moving to remote instruction requires that faculty members understand the different demands and approaches to delivering effective learning experiences through online platforms. This project develops instructional design templates and supports the implementation of remote instruction at New York Law School (NYLS) where there is currently no existing instructional support resources for remote teaching and learning.

Project Goals
  • Design, develop, and facilitate implementation of instructional design templates to support remote teaching and learning in New York Law School (NYLS).

  • Leverage affordances of available technology to provide teaching and learning experiences unique to NYLS.

Design Process
ID Template Design Example

The ID template is primarily designed and developed on Blackboard, the Learning Management System that NYLS uses. The template includes various types of remote instruction supports and resources, such as microlearning template (e.g., assessment, writing assignment, discussion, synchronous and asynchronous meeting, simulation, case-based problem solving), sample class, general guidelines for faculty and students.


The next section presents an example of a sample class from ID template. This sample class, revised from a faculty member's lesson, is redesigned into a blended learning experience with both synchronous and asynchronous learning components. By carefully listing learning activities in order (i.e., before, during, and after the class) and explaining the implementation of each learning activity in detail, this sample class provides faculty members a better sense on how to leverage the power of technology to design engaging remote learning experience. Below are some screenshots taken from the sample class, and the design rationale is listed as well. To protect faculty and students' privacy, some sensitive information is removed. 

Course Folder

  • Replicate a course's Blackboard page in ID template so that it serves as a model for instructors to follow. 

  • Organizing in a clear manner, each class has a folder that groups all relevant materials (e.g., assignments, presentation slides, readings, assessments).

  • Briefly introduce the content of this sample class and learning activities covered in both synchronous and asynchronous modules so that instructors would gain a basic sense on the design of this course before entering the folder. 

1. Preparation Before Class

  • All the learning activities follow a clear naming convention: order of the learning activity + learning activity title + [synchronous/asynchronous + where to find relevant resources in ID template].

  • In the detailed description of the learning activity (text inside the square brackets):

    • propose an easy way for instructors to upload multiple files,

    • recommend a research-based ideal time range for a recorded presentation, and 

    • provide relevant resources via hyperlinks for a smooth redirection in case the instructors want to explore further.

2. Assign Works Before Class 

  • In order to model a comprehensive sample class, this one not only identifies the learning activities that can be reflected on LMS (i.e., the content students would see on Blackboard), it also provides recommendations to instructors regarding the interactions with students that happened behind the LMS.

  • Explain the importance of rubrics and offer rubric-related instructional resources within ID template via a hyperlink. 

3. Peer-to-peer Collaborative Learning

  • One question that instructors frequently ask during one-on-one consultation is "How to promote more peer learning in remote instruction?" To address this question, the sample class proposes two alternative methods for instructors to foster collaborative peer learning.

  • Explain the advantages of integrating peer assessment activity in the class.

  • Note that it is important to set the expectation with students regarding how to give quality feedback to peers.

  • Identify pros and cons of using different online platforms for peer assessment so that instructors could choose one of them that best fits their unique instructional needs. 

4. During the Simulation

  • Walk through the process of delivering a successful synchronous simulation when integrating above learning activities, which helps instructors better envision the entire lesson.

  • Recommend a research-based ideal time range for online synchronous meeting.

  • Provide relevant resources on setting up a Zoom meeting within ID template via a hyperlink as holding a synchronous simulation online requires instructors to become familiar with some Zoom features (e.g., chat box, raise hand, screen sharing)

5. Feedback and Grade After the Class

  • Note the importance of spending some extra time on giving feedback and grading after the class:

    • Even though instant feedback is given by instructors and peers during the simulation, instructors need time after the class to complete the rubric and review peer assessment so that students who are presenting would receive more comprehensive feedback.

    • To recognize and encourage students' participation, audience students should receive credits if they give quality feedback to peers.

bottom of page