The ACE 

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

Experiential Learning

Resources for classes that involve labs, internships/clinicals, performances, field trips, hands-on creation/fabrication.

Complications & Connections

Complications: Some courses have particular challenges in online modalities. Courses that generally center on face-to-face experiential activities can be particularly difficult to rethink for remote delivery. Whether you are interested in just making it through a one-time remote semester during a crisis or exploring out-of-the-box ways to rethink f2f experiences for online learners, these resources may help you.

Connections to ACE: Obviously, instructors know that adaptability is required during a time of crisis. But designing approaches that foster students’ connections to each other and to the active pedagogies that many disciplines are built around may be important for programs that want to stay linked to their core teaching philosophies. And because many vulnerable learners may be especially challenged during difficult times, whatever adaptations we make or pedagogies we engage, we need to think about how to make learning more equitable for all our students as we sort through our options.

Science Labs

Science faculty who are used to teaching labs in a face-to-face context may be feeling pretty overwhelmed at the idea of moving these generally hands-on experiences to a virtual context. Keep in mind that it may be possible to use HyFlex or Modular design principles to keep some of your labs in the classroom during a time of crisis; can you group your labs together during a period when students are on campus? can you use mail-out kits to allow students to work along with each other from home? can you have students in the classroom synchronously partner with those online to complete a lab as a team? But if you do need to move a lab completely online, there are many resources out there to assist you. The idea is that a good online lab won’t try to exactly mirror a f2f lab, but will use the technology available to create a similarly inquiry-based, experiential framework to deliver the content. Check out some of the resources below and talk with your colleagues and instructional designers to find the path that works for your discipline and your students!

  • A pretty comprehensive list of online resources for science labs. Many of these are freely available for you to use by linking to them or importing them into your LMS or other course architecture.
  • The BCcampus Open Education Virtual Lab and Science Resource Directory lists free science resources designed to support remote science education.
  •   LabXchange (out of Harvard University) curates and creates world-class digital content related to labs, delivered on a free, online platform.
  • A particularly helpful resource to help you incorporate the (free) OpenStax Anatomy & Physiology textbook into your Learning Management Session (like Moodle or Canvas).
  • Plymouth State faculty should contact Dr. Chris Chabot to be added to the “Online Labs and Field Experiences” SharePoint folder, which has many more resources specifically curated by PSU professors.

The Fine & Performing Arts

Faculty teaching fine arts or performance-based classes probably are experiencing a particularly unique challenge: how do they help students engage in a practice that is rooted in physical presence, audience, and immediacy or facilities and materials? It may be helpful to look at examples of how other teachers approached these challenges in the spring (some links below). In particular in her article Heather Castillo asks us to step back and consider the purpose of the fine and performing arts, “to reflect the human condition” and she encourages us to regroup but not retreat. 


Many students rely on internships to have one-of-a-kind learning experiences, grounded in real-world practice. COVID-19 makes traditional internship work challenging if not impossible. If you’re overseeing an internship, reach out to students early to talk about about possibilities. Be honest with them if you think what was planned is entirely impossible, but try to be flexible and creative in coming up with new options. Can students do their internships virtually (after all, learning to work from home is clearly a critical real-world skill they need to prepare for)? Can students do limited hours in a physical internship location if their access and exposure to others is minimal? As your own organization transitions to remote work and the shifting landscape, how can you involve student interns in planning and implementing new work paradigms? Do your students have particular digital skills they could bring to bear on the challenges you’re facing with remote work? 

Field Trips

COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on field work. For just a glimpse, check out the replies to this Tweet via @DocHPJones on Twitter asking land managers and field scientists for the effect of Covid-19 on their work. How can you involve students in this conversation? How does this affect students graduating into these fields? Consider ways that the Hyflex/ modular model can work in your favor. Can you design your course so that face-to-face experiences take place when there is a better chance that students will be able to be physically present? Does every student need to visit the site? Can you find ways to involve students that have to be online? Can some be site leaders, others remote data handlers, etc? How can students teach each other about the site? A possible response to complications might be to replace field trips. What are the essential goals and learning objectives of field experience? With the understanding that nothing will exactly replace face-to-face experiences in the field, how can these goals/ learning objectives be met with other approaches/ assignments? Networks are especially valuable now. Reach out to colleagues and peers in your discipline for ideas. You are not alone. What are your colleagues who work in field situations doing now? What from the “real world” can you bring to the classroom? For example, can you Zoom in a professional in the field to talk about and present their field work? Can you have students prepare for and analyze field work data from previous years?

There are also resources for some “virtual” field trips that we will link. Many of these are geared more toward K-12 students, but they can serve as inspiration for you moving forward.

Student Teaching

Faculty working with student teachers or pre-service teachers face a host of difficulties if their courses are moved partially or completely online. Students have to not only adapt and adjust to the online world as a student, but also as a new teacher. Additionally, K-12 schools have their own adjustments, policies, and contingencies that change the way that many student teachers can engage. Not to mention that, without face-to-face experiences in a classroom, some student teachers might graduate without ever stepping foot in a classroom. For all of these reasons, faculty working with pre-service teachers are feeling the strain. Can a shift in mindset toward the meaning of “preparation” help with designing remote educator preparation experiences? Are pre-service teachers “normally” fully prepared teachers when they graduate and become public school teachers? Are pre-service teachers who are finishing their certification now developing skills that past cohorts haven’t been able to develop (resiliency, for example)? Explore the following resources for articles, collections, webinars, etc. for how educator preparation is having to shift across the country and some tools to help faculty teach pre-service teachers. 

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.