Here at the Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative at Plymouth State, we have been working hard to support faculty– both at our own institution and more broadly in institutions of higher education across the world– as they revise and reimagine their teaching during the global COVID-19 pandemic. As we looked for a way to make course design possibilities more coherent and accessible, we realized that it was easy to be sidetracked by an overemphasis on both modality (online or face-to-face or hybrid or hyflex) and technology tools and platforms. We were concerned about modalities and technologies, but we wanted to guide decision-making around something larger: the mission that guides our institution and the values that guide our pedagogies.
The ACE Framework is the matrix we have developed to support faculty as they work this summer on readying their curriculum for fall. It is organized around three core pedagogical values– Adaptability, Connection, and Equity— that are aligned with the mission of our public regional university in New Hampshire, and which we believe are likely aligned with many colleges and universities across the world.
ACE is also organized around three levels: assignment, course, and institution. While faculty will no doubt be most interested in the first two levels, we realized as we developed this that without institutional support and larger structural adjustments, some curricular shifts would be hard to operationalize. For that reason, we built an institutional level of the framework to guide committees, staff, administrators, trustees, and legislators, so they can attend to larger issues that will align with faculty efforts.
Inside the ACE matrix are ACE-Informed Practices that align with the core values and with each level of the framework. These practices form the backbone of the ACE curriculum, and we invite you to engage with them, learn with us, and pick and choose what is useful to you as you plan for fall.
While ACE was built for the Plymouth State community, we offer this curriculum to our colleagues across the world. Much of the content here was mined from a global community of educators who have been sharing ideas openly since the pandemic began. Whether you work at PSU or elsewhere, we encourage you to be part of this learning community with us, and if you need to adapt ACE to more closely fit your own institutional context, the framework is openly licensed and we encourage you to revise and remix it.
If you would like to join us in participating in the ACE curriculum, here are some questions and answers to get you started.
How should I get started?
First, check out the ACE Framework page, watch the short intro video, and browse the “How to Use the ACE Framework” instructions for some tips about levels of engagement. Then, consider joining us for a virtual Orientation Session on June 18th at 1pm Eastern time to learn more, ask questions, and meet other folks who will be working with ACE.
What if I don’t work at Plymouth State?
That’s fine! We built this framework to be useful to all of us in higher education. We will try to make most of our ACE-related events open to the public whenever possible. You can also feel free to use the ACE Framework independently from us in your own college or university if it helpful. There are even high schools working with ACE. We encourage anyone who finds this content useful to use it, and to share back with us if you wish!
How do I register to participate in ACE?
You can use all the resources in the ACE Framework without registering. If you wish to register, however, it will enable us to send you email updates when new content is added or when events are planned; it will also help us get a sense of where ACE is being implemented so we can build relationships with other educators and institutions who are similarly aligned with us in approach. Go to “How to Use the ACE Framework” and click on Sign Up.