Activities Assessments Communication and Engagement Stories

Michael Raby

Dr. Michael Raby

Contract Lecturer, Department of English

Course: ENG 201: Myth and Literature

Strategy: Virtual discussion groups

Michael Raby started teaching in the Department of English at Ryerson during the COVID-19 pandemic. As he prepared to teach Myth and Literature, he took into consideration the unique situation his students were in: isolated from their peers, lacking routine, and overwhelmed.

To address his students’ needs, Michael started by setting up weekly class discussion groups that remained consistent for the entire course. This gave his students a space to get to know each other while exploring the course material.

Each live class started with a Q&A session before moving into the group discussions. This structure meant students who finished their discussion early could either move on to other tasks, or could stay in the room to socialize.

Each group submitted a written summary of their discussion each week. This meant less report writing for individual students (since they took turns writing the reports), and less marking than would be required if Michael had opted for a discussion board approach. Students were also marked by each other for their participation in the discussions.

To make sure students stayed on top of readings and video lectures, Michael introduced weekly quizzes. This allowed students to establish a routine and helped them stay on track.