Getting Started

Getting Started with Distance Learning

The Distance Learning Headquarters is for DJUSD staff as a support and resource for all educators. This site provides concise, practical resources and strategies for sustaining instruction and class communities within our distance learning model. The content is organized and designed to guide your planning, preparation, assessment, and instruction.

What is Distance Learning?

In pedagogy, the choice, breakdown and sequencing of the curriculum (content) and the deliberate organization of student activities. This resource discusses a structure that teachers can use deliberately and efficiently in the design of their classes for student success during remote instruction.

Why is Designing for Distance Important?

When students are asked to transition their learning from in person delivery format (face-to-face) to another (remote instruction), the cognitive load increases significantly: students must learn or become proficient in using a learning management system and digital tools they may have limited experience with (e.g., WebEx and Google Suite); they must learn the structures and processes a particular teacher has created to support remote learning; and they must learn the content. This can be more cognitively demanding for students than face-to-face classes. Therefore, the more clearly and uniformly you structure your students, the more cognitive capacity they can devote to learning the course content. Ideally, we all use consistent practices for our students.

Distance Learning: Best Practices

Review your resources and design from a high level at first. Remind yourself and your students, this is not about replicating what you would have done without school closure.

  • Review DJUSD web resources for information from the district during this significant disruption.

  • Consult with or request for time with:

    • Your site leader, grade level, and/or department about plans to sustain relationships and continuity of instruction.

    • Your instructional team (e.g. Special Education case managers, English Learner Specialists, Reading Specialists, paraeducators, tutors, etc.)

    • Instructional Technology for assistance with technology set up, Google Classroom, WebEx, and to learn about options

    • Your site leader and our Instructional coaches for pedagogical and instructional strategies to inform course continuity

Step 1: Plan. Review the content mapping that you established individually, within grade levels or within departments. Identify the critical concepts that need to be prioritized or re-prioritized now that you have experienced facilitating distance learning. Plan for:

  • How will you explain the learning objectives to students?

  • How could you provide an engaging introduction to a new concept, lesson, or objective?

  • When can you consult with English Learner Specialists or Special Education staff with your planning?

  • How can you build community and connection with and between students?

  • How can you present information in “bite sized” pieces?

  • What are the best practices in your content area?

Step 2: Teach. Teaching remotely demands deliberate delivery of direct instruction, independent work that sustains student inquiry or practices skills, and check-in’s for small group collaboration, reteaching, or assessment. Consider:

  • How will you know the students know the content?

  • How can students go further if they are able (“low floor, high ceiling”)?

  • How can I increase my presence or personalize feedback?