Module 4: Examining Alignment and Technology

In this Module we’ll examine alignment in relation to elements of feedback, discussion, and assessment and technology; ways to incorporate them into your online teaching; as well as some key things to remember when doing so.


Participants will:

  • Take away key concepts from existing SoTL on alignment
  • Identify concepts, including alignment, in Module activities
  • Create and refine a format-to-outcome tracking visual
  • Reflect on instances of feedback, discussion, assessment from past teaching and learning experiences, and reflect on how they’ll change for online formats

Community Building Activity

In my darkest hours, I turn to McSweeny’s. This article was indeed dark, but hilarious. McSweeny’s is especially attuned to the academic world and are good for an any-time-of-the-semester pick me up.

What is something that has made you laugh (or smile) this week?

Explore the Resources

“Students may feel disoriented without regular classroom interaction. In the online environment, much of your interaction with learners can be through robust and timely feedback.

Additionally, when teaching at a distance, it is crucial to provide lower-stakes, formative assessments so both you and your students can proactively address any confusion before higher-stakes assessments” (QM Rubric).


  • Explain how the learning materials and activities will help students achieve course learning objectives
  • Explain how each assignment is related to course learning objectives
  • Provide learners timely feedback so they can track their progress

What do we mean by ‘alignment’?

→ We call alignment when the learning objectives clearly and directly connect with the learning activities and the assessments in your course.

Review this document “Faculty Playbook: Delivery High Quality Instruction“. Take a look specifically at the ‘Course Design Principles’ section starting on Page 15. 

To consider alignment in your online courses, first identify your Module-level Learning Objectives. “What should the student be able to do after this learning module?”  Be specific and use action verbs to describe your learning objectives. 

Then ask yourself, what learning activities or materials am I providing to the students so they learn to ‘do that thing’?  Learning activities can include: reading, video, demonstration, conversation, feedback, writing, drawing, making, speaking etc.

Finally, ask yourself, how am I going to know (and how is the student going to know) that they’ve learned to ‘do that thing’?  This is your assessment, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be connecting to your grading. Assessment in this sense can be reflective, can be dialogical, visual or otherwise. The point should be: how will the student demonstrate to you and to themselves that they’ve learned.

Consider This

Take a look at the following Guideline (specifically Section 3 – Course Alignment). See if you can find these suggestions useful to self-evaluate your online course design. Pay special attention to 1/ alignment and 2/technology considerations:

Consider the following questions:

  • What did you notice that you might want to adapt in your online course, what will you do better?
  • How can you use the Guiding Principles for building your own online course?
  • Were you able to notice alignment within your course?  
  • How do you plan to align your technology to your pedagogy? 
  • How will you make sure that pedagogy should drive your technology choices?

Here are additional checklists for you to consider:

Explore the Resources

We highly recommend this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education to inform this Module’s consideration of feedback and technology, as well as the evolving relationship between the two as we move more steadily to online classrooms.

Please take some time review these lists of suggested tools:

Typology of Free Web-based Learning Technologies

Otis College Technology Tools

Faculty Voices

Reflections on Tech Tools for Teaching Online in a Math/Science Classroom by  Damond Chaky

Supporting International Students Online by Amanda Hyunh

Consider This

Given what your course goals and learning objectives are, what are interactive tools (synchronous and asynchronous) that would be useful for your students?  And what have you tried so far that worked?

Resilience Practice

Ask yourself (and prompt your students) to consider:

  • What is going well for me right now?
  • What can I be thankful for right now?
  • What in this moment is truly lacking?

Listen to this podcast episode about Trauma Informed Pedagogies by Karen Costa.


Justify your tools with your pedagogy.  What educational technologies will you utilize in your online course and WHY?

Faculty Voices

Responses by Pratt faculty who participate in the RTO

Frank Millero School of Design | Industrial Design

Jane Haimes Foundation

Sam Bennett School of Design | Interior Design

Previous << Module 3: Access and Equity Considerations
Next >> Module5: Trauma Informed Pedagogies and Practices
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