The online teaching and learning experience I am designing, centres around the topic of social justice. This is my Initial Design Phase: Building Strong Primary Components.

Situational Factors:

I have 23 students in my grade 7 Social Studies class and 19 students in my grade 8 Social Studies class. Although the majority of students will be attending classes in-person, there are several students who are learning from home due to a variety of reasons. I plan on questioning both the in-person learners and the solely online learners about their different experiences throughout the course. This information will be very helpful as I refine my online course designing. A hybrid learning model, which includes a blend of both formats will be used. For the in-class learners, the course will primarily be synchronous, but students will have access to course materials from home as well, where they can contribute to discussion forums, for example. The at-home learners will mainly be asynchronous, but I plan on scheduling set times for some specific class activities and debates. As for the students’ prior knowledge about this subject, I feel that although there has been an increasing amount of media attention dealing with this topic over the last few years, the students are not very knowledgeable. Their young age coupled with the fact that their daily life is not directly impacted by a lot of the subject matter, has simply rendered the topic out of sight and out of mind.

Learning Goals:

The learning goals for this course are unique because I would consider a lot of them to be important life skills that I would love for my students to acquire and refine for the rest of their lives.

I want students to be able to:

  • apply critical thinking skills to a range of social justice issues, situations, and topics
  • assess how belief systems can affect perspectives in relation to social justice issues
  • self-assess their own attitudes and behaviours related to social justice
  • demonstrate attributes and behaviours that promote social justice
  • recognize situations of privilege and discrimination
  • develop the empathy and self-reflection skills needed to nurture meaningful relationships
  • advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves

Feedback and Assessment:

  • formative and summative assessments
  • online tests and quizzes
  • written and oral feedback detailing positives and areas for improvement
  • participation in classroom discussions and activities
  • deep engagement with writing and reflection activities
  • participation with great respect of the opinions of others
  • demonstration of the ability to relate and connect ideas and concepts
  • demonstration of the ability to express personal opinions
  • demonstration of the ability to recognize diverse groups and their struggles

Teaching/Learning Activities:

  • synchronous and asynchronous online discussions
  • online self-assessments
  • blogs
  • wikis
  • virtual field trips
  • case studies

How might the information gathered through this step help you to design your online learning experience?

In planning this out, I can tell that it will be difficult to fit everything in, as the topic is so broad and has so many branches. I will also have to make sure that all content in videos and readings, etc. are age appropriate. Having a mix of synchronous and asynchronous activities, along with in-person learning will make scheduling a lot more onerous. Writing out the learning goals gave me some teaching activity ideas and ways I could give feedback.

How do you think the situational factors might influence design for the online environment versus the face-to-face classroom?

As previously mentioned, the in-class learners will primarily be synchronous, while the at-home learners will mainly be asynchronous. If given enough notice, I think my at-home learners will be able to join my in-class learners for some activities as well. While working with the in-class learners, I will be able to witness firsthand any sections of the lessons they find challenging. This confusion may result from the content itself or simply the navigation of the course. Directions and learning objectives will need to be much clearer for the online environment.

I am excited to start putting this all together!




Dee Fink, L. (2003). A self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning . Retrieved from “”