teaching large classes
Worksheets and Checklists

Creating a Curriculum Map for Survey Courses

Introductory survey courses offer an overview of a broad topic or field of knowledge. They form the backbone of undergraduate education at most colleges and universities, and they also serve as the foundation courses for their disciplines.

An introductory survey course may be the only college-level course that non-majors take in the field, as well as the courses on which potential majors may base their decision of whether they will choose to major in that field. Despite their critical role in the higher education landscape, introductory survey courses are notorious for low rates of student achievement and satisfaction.

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Worksheets and Checklists

How Do You Study? A Questionnaire for Students

Good instructional decision-making rests on accurate information. And in the case of tests and exams, we should be seeking student input more often than we do. No, we aren’t asking whether they want exams or what kind of exams they like. We need to know more about their learning experiences associated with the exams.

We’re making decisions about exams mostly based on suppositions—how we think they’re studying. We rely on feedback provided by their performance. Those with poor exam scores didn’t study, or they didn’t use good study strategies, or were so stressed by the exam they couldn’t think clearly. Those reasons aren’t all the same—they have different instructional implications. Exam performance feedback is after-the-fact input. Feedback collected at other times can provide details that enable us to better use exams and the events that surround them to promote learning and improve performance.

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Worksheets and Checklists

Classroom Participation Strengths Inventory

Understanding temperament is very helpful in understanding the learning styles and approaches. So extroverts tend to prefer very high levels of external stimulation, tend to be energized by social activity, may avoid solitude, and are oriented to the outer world. Whereas introverts may easily feel overstimulated in social settings or exhausted by social activity. So they may seek solitude to recharge their batteries, and their orientation may be more likely to the inner world of thoughts and ideas.

Let's make the next connection to learning. In terms of preferences and in terms of the conditions in which students perform best, extroverts tend to prefer to work with others and learn with others, so project work, collaboration, group work, these are all preferences of the more
extroverted students.

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Assignments and Activities

Making Learning Visible with Video Assessment

In winter 2015, I was given the opportunity to design and teach my department’s first fully online course, in calculus. Some design challenges emerged in the process, not least of which was the question of assessing homework. In a face-to-face class, students either turn in handwritten solutions to online problems or present them orally in class. But how can you have students presenting work to each other when they don’t even meet?

My solution—the only solution that could really work—was to have students present work via recorded video and then put those videos in an accessible place for the rest of the class.

The process worked as follows:

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Worksheets and Checklists

Discipline-Relevant Critical Thinking Skills and Outcomes

Critical Thinking demands explicit awareness, monitoring, control, and evaluation of one’s thinking, so add a meta-assignment (grade pass/fail) in which students reflect on and describe their thinking processes (metacognition, self-regulated learning). Sample prompts:

  • How did you arrive at your response/solution?
  • Describe the process by which you arrived at your solution and determined it was the best. How did you define the task/problem, decide which principles and concepts to apply, develop alternative approaches and solutions, and assess their feasibility, trade-offs, and relative worth?
  • How did you conduct your design/problem-solving/research process (steps taken, strategies used, problems encountered, how overcome)?
  • How did you set and modify your goals, strategies, and actions in response to other players? (after a simulation or role play)
  • What skills did you use or improve, and when will they be useful in the future?
  • Evaluate your strategies, performance, and success in achieving your goals.
  • What goals and strategies will guide your revision (if applicable)?
  • What learning value did this task have? What would you do differently?
  • What advice would you give next semester’s students before they do this assignment (preparation, strategies, pitfalls, value)?

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Worksheets and Checklists

Sample To-Do Online Teaching Checklist

Daily Priorities

  • Check “Questions for Instructor” thread; respond to questions
  • Check internal course email; respond to questions
  • Check phone messages; respond to students
  • Check dropbox; grade submissions and provide feedback
  • Participate in discussion thread; record grades and comment codes on separate sheet while participating

Weekly Tasks

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Assignments and Activities

Recognizing the Signs of Underpreparedness

Take a few moments to list your top three or four frustrations with students who are not prepared to successfully complete your course—students who almost seem destined to fail your course.

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Rubrics

Managing Feedback

Sample APA Style feedback bank comment: A new guideline of the 6th edition of APA style is the inclusion of DOI (digital object identifier) information with each entry in your reference list for which DOI information is available. The DOI...

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Assignments and Activities

Journaling Assignment

Students will complete a series of short essays about the idea of fairness in different ethical theories. Students will reflect in writing on the following question: what is fairness or how does this idea contribute to, support or challenge my idea of fairness? Another question students will consider is how a particular ethical theory is or is not fair. Students will be evaluated on the following factors:

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Rubrics

Grading Rubrics for Online Discussions

Use analytic grading rubrics for online discussions. Analytic grading rubrics have two major components: levels of performance and a set of criteria. Levels of performance can include terms such as exemplary, proficient, basic, or below expectations or can include numbers. Points can be attached to the levels of performance and distributed based on the total number of points allowed for a post in the discussion forum.

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