Instructor Needs for Remote Learning

At the direction of the Vice-Provost (Learning Initiatives), the University of Alberta Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) conducted a survey on Instructor needs for Remote Learning.

We had over 860 responses to the survey, including over 300 full professors, 183 associate professors, 108 assistant professors, and 153 Academic Teaching Staff, representing all of the teaching faculties at our university. Thank you for letting us know your needs and concerns.

The faculty specific data were sent to the Faculties to allow them to take steps to address the concerns of their own communities, and the overall data were carefully analyzed by the colleagues at the Centre for Teaching and Learning. The VP (Research and Innovation) Office is reviewing the responses related to research and will be following up accordingly. Survey findings indicated a wide range of concerns and priorities around research, including access to offices and buildings. 

The top needs regarding remote instruction expressed by the respondents include:

  • how to best deliver lectures/content online;
  • how to keep students motivated and engaged through remote delivery;
  • how to assess students remotely;
  • how to minimize cheating on exams online;
  • how to help build instructor-student and student-student connections and develop a learning community online;
  • worries about learning all of the new technologies needed and concerns about technology failing.

For support on these topics, you are encouraged to visit the CTL website and to request a consultation with one of CTL's educational developers. Colleagues at CTL and in the Faculties are continuing to develop new resources to further support our instructors.

Course delivery should include a combination of synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (any time) learning activities. In a 2020 survey, the University of Alberta Students’ union found that students want opportunities to interact with instructors during scheduled class times; however, extenuating circumstances related to COVID-19 may limit the ability of some students to participate in real-time class activities. For example, students who are caring for children or other relatives, or those living in time zones outside Alberta or Canada may find it impossible to attend classes at specific times. Designing courses in a way that is equitable, fair, inclusive, and accessible has been shown to benefit all students (Gidden & Jones, 2021). We have a responsibility to balance synchronous and asynchronous course activities to ensure accessibility for all our learners. A blend of both real-time and any time learning activities is optimal from a pedagogical standpoint.  For more information, please see CTL’s support for teaching resources on designing courses with both real time and any-time delivery modes.

For all course delivery questions, please peruse the CTL website for advice. Also, connect with the teaching and learning supports in your Faculty.  

New resources and future workshops will be communicated through the CTL website for faculty and for institution-wide participation. 

If you have any other questions or comments, please send them to

We look forward to learning together.

Works Cited

Gidden, E. & Jones, D. (2021). Examining the impact of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) on minimizing academic accommodations in post-secondary: A literature review. Bow Valley College Research & Publications.