In more than 20 years of teaching, I have learned that too much information frustrates rather than inspires students. Today, however, with a few clicks of the computer mouse, any teacher can retrieve an overabundance of information. What is more, courseware makes distributing this information to students amazingly easy. As a result, teachers risk (unintentionally) giving students much more information than they can reasonably digest, including electronic texts, supplementary texts, and background information. The key to avoiding information overload is remembering course goals.
How do we find time to teach students how to think when there is so much content they need to learn? The secret lies in backward design. Backward design is a powerful way to help you clarify your learning goals, bring your assignments and exams into alignment with these goals, and better use classroom activities to cultivate the student learning that you value most.
Online Seminar • Recorded on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
Frustrated with the traditional lecture format in an upper-level chemistry class that enrolled more than 100 students, and envious of my teaching assistants who spent time in small recitations working on problem solving with my students, I designed an approach I call the “The Front Row.” It brings a small group feel into a large classroom.
Online courses are rarely “done.” Over time, things change, including the curriculum and content (because of changes in the field and changes to available content) and the technologies (ways that the content can be delivered and tools for interacting with it and with others in the courses, including you).
Required introductory courses, especially those in math and science, offer special teaching challenges. Frequently, these are courses that must be completed before students can proceed to their chosen majors.