¶ Considerations

When incorporating digital pedagogy into the classroom, it is important to take several considerations into account.

• Ask the question, why digital? Before designing a digital pedagogy course component, consider why you are choosing digital and what it will achieve that other approaches will not. It’s possible that digital is not the best medium and that using it will make coursework more cumbersome than necessary.

There is no such thing as a “digital native.” Some students are tech-savvy, especially if their major is technology-oriented. There are many other students, however, who are not inherently good at or comfortable with using technology in course work, despite being proficient with certain technologies like social media. Therefore, do not make assumptions about their technical abilities.

Make sure there is enough room in the syllabus for students to execute assignments fully. Students need time to learn the technology, which means they need time to experiment, fail, and then succeed. Also, keep in mind that the primary learning curve might not be learning the technology itself as much as it is learning how to apply the technology to the specific assignment.

Not all students have equal access to technology. Even if every student has a laptop, smartphone, etc., this does not mean their computer is fast enough or current enough, or they have the necessary bandwidth or data plan to meet the requirements of an assignment. Similarly, even if the necessary technology is readily available on campus, this does not mean every student can be on campus for the time it takes to complete an assignment. (Think about students who live off-campus or who work full-time.) For this reason, instructors should be prepared to meet the needs of students with less access, e.g., know where students can borrow equipment and give extra time to complete an assignment. One way to level the technology “playing field” is to allow class time for such work.

Conducting a class survey asking about student access to technology is one way to identify access issues. Ensure students’ responses are kept private.

• Be prepared to adjust an assignment for students with disabilities. If a student has a disability, it might be necessary to provide them with an alternative version of an assignment. For example, give a visually impaired student a podcast assignment in place of a video one. Additional support might be needed to help disabled students navigate the technology. Talk to a Digital Scholarship librarian or the Center for Digital Innovation in Learning for guidance on this matter and inquire with Disability Support Services about any assistance they can provide.

Take privacy and online safety into account‌ when having students work publicly. When students are working online, be it a project they are creating, e.g., a website, or engaging with an online community, e.g., TikTok, discuss issues of privacy and safety. Allow students not to put their name on their work or put only their first name and last initial. When doing social media-based assignments, it might be best if they don’t use their personal accounts.

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