This is an archive of the ACE Workshop website. While all of the original content is available, some features (like forms) may no longer work and there may be broken links (indicated with a strike-through). 


The ACE 

A guide for decision-making and professional development planning during times of crisis.

Curriculum Linked to Context


Consider how to sensitively acknowledge and even include current events in your course, particularly if there are authentic ways for students to investigate and reflect upon those events.


Techniques and Activities to help you explore this practice. 

Acknowledge the Context

As the most basic level, it’s important to at least acknowledge the larger context in which your course is unfolding. Take time (in class, in Zoom sessions, in online discussion formats) to talk about what you are experiencing and to ask students to share if they want to. 

Respecting that the bigger context is impacting your students and that they may need time with you and their classmates to unpack and process that reality is a step towards building trust (and community) in the classroom. 

Consider the Context

Even if you’re not ready to dive head-on into a project involving the larger situation surrounding you and your students, you can still take the time to talk about how your field, discipline, or course intersect with the current issues at hand. For example, the Explore section (below) includes emergent syllabi for studying both COVID-19 and #blacklivesmatter. Help students to understand how your class connects with these issues that are impacting them day-to-day. 

Study the Context

In some classes, it may make sense to embark on larger projects or assignments related to current issues. A few ideas: 

  • Have students explore the issue from a historical standpoint and create an infographic or Web page;
  • Have students collect interviews from people who are living through this moment now and make some kind of creative product from the stories they hear;
  • Have students collect and/or analyze data related to COVID19 or the BLM protests that intersects in some way with your field of study. 

Practice Care

Regardless of how you decide to engage with the larger context, remember that your students (and you!) are living through this. Some students may be experiencing current issues first-hand, and may feel uncomfortable talking about them in class. Or they might be so overwhelmed by what’s going on that they want class time to be an escape. 

  • Talk to your students about their needs and comfort. 
  • Invite them to decide with you how the class should handle the work. 
  • Be prepared to offer alternative options for assignments and projects. 

Create a Virtual Time Capsule Assignment

This assignment idea could work across many different fields and courses. The idea is to have students create a virtual “time capsule” about the major issues we are dealing with right now (such as COVID-19 and BLM). Have them think about how these issues intersect with the work of your class and then have them collect “artifacts” that they would want to share with someone in 25 years who was trying to understand this moment. Artifacts should probably all be digitally available (news articles, personal stories, artwork) and should relate to your field (news articles about criminal justice issues, personal stories about health care, artwork about the science of disease). You can have students work individually, in groups, or as class. Include a component where students think about how to present what they’ve collected and comment upon it as well. 

Build Time for Context-Aware Conversation

Take a look at your course schedule and weekly work/activities. Add some kind of sharing or conversation-based activity every week or two weeks where students can talk about what is going on and how it is impacting them, their coursework, their families, etc. Commit to making sure you do this consistently and that you set aside other concerns while students reflect. 


Online reading and resources to help dive deeper into this practice. 

Related Slipper-Camp Resources

Check out these PSU-specific resources generated by this spring's Slipper Camp.


A larger community of teachers and learners interested in this practice. 

Discuss on Twitter

If you are active on Twitter, we encourage you to share your thought and ideas using the #ACEFramework hashtag and the #linkedcontext hashtag to talk about this practice, in particular. 

Join a Meeting

If you are interested in talking to people about the Connection value (for which Curriculum Linked to Context is an ACE-informed practice), we invite you to our hosted Zoom chats. Chats are scheduled this summer on the following dates:

  • Thursday, June 18 from 1:00PM-2:00PM (EDT): Overview of the ACE Framework
  • Thursday, July 2 from 1:00PM-2:00PM (EDT): Connection Practices

Submit Your Ideas

If you find yourself working this summer on a project or approach that uses Curriculum Linked to Context, we invite you to share what you’ve found or created, via the Submit Something button below. If you choose to publicly share your submission, it will immediately become available on this page in the Revisit section. (For particularly compelling submissions, we may also add this to the Explore section of this page.)

Hypothesize with Us

The online annotation tool, Hypothesis, is built into this Web site. Feel free to annotate this (or any page in the ACE Framework) with your own thoughts, critiques, questions, or ideas. You can easily get started with a Hypothesis account (which is free) and learn more about how to use the tool

Join Our Team

Plymouth State University community members are invited to join our Teams site for the ACE Framework. Feel free to use our discussion channel to ask questions, give suggestions, and point to new resources. 


A space for user-submitted ideas, resources, and links related to this practice. 

Curriculum Linked Context

Todays’ Theatrical Experience

Archaeology in the Context of BLM

Put material into context

About the Workbook

The Workbook is an online space for you to record your reflections and assignments for the Workshop.

Participants at PSU will be using an Office 365 Word Document (available via the “Files” section of the “General” channel in the ACE Workshop Teams space).

Participants at other institutions should check with their Workshop Facilitator(s) about where to work on their Workbook.

About the Discussion Forum

The Discussion Forum is an online space where all the members of the Workshop can share ideas and reflections and build community

Participants at PSU will be using the ACE Workshop Teams space).

Participants at other institutions should check with their Workshop Facilitator(s) about where to access their Discussion Forum.

About the VidSpace

The VidSpace is an online space for synchronous video meetings among participants (that can also be recorded and shared for asynchronous access).

Participants at PSU will be using Zoom (available via the Zoom tab in the ACE Workshop Teams space).

Participants at other institutions should check with their Workshop Facilitator(s) about where to access their VidSpace. 

About the ACE “Institutional Level”

The ACE Framework is primarily designed for faculty who are readjusting their curriculum during times of regional, national, or global crisis. But in order for the work that faculty do with their assignments and courses to be most effective, it should be aligned with the institutional mission, which should guide policy and structural planning related to curriculum and teaching.

The institutional level of the framework is a reminder to faculty that if their adjustments at the assignment- or course-level are difficult to operationalize successfully, it could be due to larger policies and structures that are mis-aligned with the ACE Framework; advocacy may be warranted to bring the institution into alignment.

The institutional level of the framework is also a call to university policy-making committees, administrators, Boards of Trustees, and legislators that there is much work to be done to prepare university policies and structures to support students and faculty who are learning and teaching through challenging times.