Careful planning and implementation of assignments will help your students produce what you expected.
The goal of assignment sequencing is a stepwise development of students’ skills (i.e., movement from preliminary to higher level critical thinking or disciplinary skills)
Designing a course is a significant task, but following a proven strategy can help. The following design sequence is one possible order of completing a course design.
Use this checklist to guide you toward creating accessible face-to-face presentations. Start with practices that you find quick and easy, then build from there.
Use this checklist to guide you toward creating accessible MS PowerPoint slides. Start with practices that you find quick and easy, then build from there.
Use this checklist to guide you toward creating accessible MS Word documents. Start with practices that you find quick and easy, then build from there.
Active learning is based on constructivism, a learning theory that asserts that learners construct their own understanding of a topic by building upon their prior knowledge
Questions are the simplest form of interactive teaching tool, particularly in large classes, and are useful in any discipline.
When designing a course, it's essential that the intended learning outcomes, the assessments, and the learning activities are aligned with one another
Both asking and answering questions are important parts of effective learning and teaching.
In the context of higher education, the word “backchannel” refers to conversations that take place among students during a classroom lecture or presentation.
Many of the principles of effective teaching in a traditional university classroom also apply to online teaching.
There are many challenges to being a teaching assistant (TA).
Start by writing student-centred learning outcomes
This document is a general resource for teaching teams seeking to incorporate lab activities in their remote courses
The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, known as Bloom's Taxonomy (Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, & Krathwohl, 1956) is one of the most recognized learning theories in the field of education
For more information related to Bloom's Taxonomy, refer to the Bloom's Taxonomy Teaching Tip.
In large, crowded, undergraduate classes students can feel anonymous, passive, unmotivated, and isolated (Trees & Jackson, 2007)
In the transition to university, students often take a “stenographer” approach to notetaking.
In the transition to university, you need to start making choices about how you read course materials such as textbooks, journal articles, and course notes
In any endeavour, feedback provides direction for improvement
Let your students see you as a real person
When teaching online, it’s especially important that students see you as a real person.
Community-based learning is a high impact practice which can improve student retention and engagement, and help students better absorb, retain, and transfer knowledge
Concept mapping tools allow you and your students to visually depict a system of relationships by creating a map
Have you ever had to deal with a disruptive or highly emotional student?
All living creatures have the instinct for survival and when confronted with a perceived danger react in what is called a fight or flight response – i.e., they either defend themselves or run away
How to have conversations with students about academic integrity and discipline norms in order to discourage the use of artificial intelligence tools for nefarious purposes.
In a flipped classroom students engage with lectures or other materials outside of class to prepare for an active learning experience in the classroom.
Here are some questions to consider when designing a course. Exploring these questions should help you develop a detailed course plan.
The teaching dossier can help you improve your teaching by allowing you to reflect upon your teaching philosophy, methods of teaching, and your students’ learning
Transcripts are text alternatives to multi-media materials
Course outlines, or syllabi, are an integral part of course design
Critical reflection is a “meaning-making process” that helps us set goals, use what we’ve learned in the past to inform future action and consider the real-life implications of our thinking
Crowdmark is an online platform that helps instructors manage and grade assignments and tests quickly and efficiently
Data visualization is the process of presenting large amounts of data in a visual form that helps to reveal meaningful patterns in the data.
A multiple-choice question (MCQ) is composed of two parts: a stem that identifies the question or problem, and a set of alternatives or possible answers that contain a key that is the best answer to the question, and a number of distractors that are plausible but incorrect answers to the question
Effective visuals help your audience understand and remember the key points of your presentation.
If you choose to create your own course material, keep file sizes small
Active learning in the classroom can increase student engagement and promote learning
Early engagement quick tips are...
Some basic skills can help you to be a more effective communicator in the classroom.
Tutorials supplement learning that has occurred in lectures by providing further opportunities for students to discuss course material, ask questions, practice skills, and receive formative feedback on their learning
Language is a critical element in properly communicating the intent of assignments to students.
What can you do as an instructor to encourage your students to do honest work?
While ePortfolios might be described as digital collections of artifacts, a good academic ePortfolio also represents a process
Examinations are a very common assessment and evaluation tool in universities and there are many types of examination questions
This game can be played in tutorials, lectures, or study groups outside class, and it helps to produce the lateral thinking, critical negotiations
Respond to the following prompts in developing a comprehensive record of your beliefs about the various aspects of teaching and learning:
Initiating and sustaining a lively, productive discussion are among the most challenging activities for an instructor
Throughout history, mentors have helped to shape the development of their protegés
Whether you’re grading assignments, essays, lab reports, or exams, there are some general strategies that can help you save time and ensure that you’re being equitable.
Five Things to Make Your Students Appreciate Your LEARN Site
Introduce yourself to your class. Tell them about your background:
Presentations are a common tool for which graduate students and faculty often receive training during their undergraduate and graduate course work.
Games can introduce goals, interaction, feedback, problem solving, competition, narrative, and fun learning environments, elements that can increase learner engagement and sustain motivation
A pronoun is a part of speech that replaces a noun or noun phrase to eliminate unnecessary noun repetition in communication
Graduate programs at Waterloo provide excellent opportunities for students to develop their research and teaching skills
A three-way game of rock-paper-scissorsAudio version of "Group decision making" tip sheet (MP3)
Having a diversity of skills and ideas within a group often enriches the group process and can improve the final product.
Assigning tasks to small groups during class can have many benefits, such as involving students in their own learning,
One way to change the pace in your classroom is to do a small group activity.
Both faculty members and teaching assistants (TAs) can accomplish some of their most rewarding teaching in the office
Similar to in-person office hours, virtual office hours support student learning through one-on-one interactions between students and instructors or TAs
Icebreakers are short activities, often at the beginning of courses, tutorials, and meetings, that provide an opportunity for students to engage with instructors, TAs, and one another.
Group work can be an effective method to motivate students, encourage active learning, and develop key critical-thinking, communication, and decision-making skills
It is not uncommon for graduate students to question their competencies, abilities, and accomplishments in the areas of research and teaching.
Most graduate students have an idea of how to create a curriculum vitae (CV)
In a flipped classroom students engage with lectures or other materials outside of class to prepare for an active learning experience in the classroom.
Service-learning is a form of experiential learning that combines relevant community service experiences with reflective exercises for a powerful learning experience that aligns with course curriculum
Many skills and attitudes towards learning are required for success in an independent study environment.
The following questions are meant to guide you through the process of designing a “course” or unit of study
- Movement breaks can lead to better retention and understanding of classroom material.
Many types of assignments can be done online.
Whether in-person or online, facilitating tutorials is an opportunity to work closely with students and understand where they are in their learning.
The first day of class can set the tone for the rest of the term. Here are some tips on how to set a positive classroom atmosphere and limit disruptions from the get-go.
Assessment is an integral part of your course design.
Clearly communicate to students your goals for any assignment or learning activity.
As class sizes increase and university budgets tighten, lecturing remains a dominant teaching method (Goffe & Kauper, 2014; Smith & Valentine, 2012).
When an instructor writes on a classroom’s whiteboard, two problems arise
As a learning tool, writing can help students achieve a number of learning goals.
Working in groups can be both rewarding and challenging.
Guidelines when pivoting from an in-person exam to an online exam.
Most university courses have an end-of-term assessment of student learning: a final exam, term test, summative project, or other option
Technology has become an integral part of students’ lives
Different assignments make different cognitive demands on students.
Working in groups is quite different than working individually.
Students should be made aware of assessment before starting the project
Motivation and learning are inextricably intertwined: “motivation influences learning and performance and what students do and learn influences their motivation” (Schunk et al., 2008, p. 5).
As long as class sizes continue to increase, it is likely that lecturing will be a dominant teaching method in university class rooms
In a flipped classroom, students engage with lectures or other materials outside of class to prepare for an active learning experience in the classroom
Fostering an effective discussion can be challenging in a face-to-face situation and even more so in an online environment.
Online discussions can help you prepare for class, learn discussion skills, practice your writing skills, and learn from others
Online outliners such as WorkFlowy allow you to create lists with an infinite number of hierarchical levels: items, sub items, sub sub items, and so on
Hypothesis is an online tool that allows students to collaboratively annotate course readings and other internet resources.
Padlet is an online platform that describes itself as “somewhere between a doc and a full-fledged website builder
Peer instruction is a form of collaborative learning where students engage with core course concepts and then explain those concepts to one another.
Teaching is often reviewed for one of two purposes:
Clickers are stand-alone handheld devices or apps installed on a smartphone or laptop that allow students to respond to an instructor's multiple-choice questions. These responses are instantly tabulated by software so that the instructor, and potentially the students, can see the results. Used effectively, clickers can foster participation as well as student engagement with course content.
Piazza is a online question-and-answer platform that blends the functionality of a discussion forum with that of a wiki
There are three main points to consider when preparing to deliver a lecture or lead a tutorial:
Whether delivering a presentation at an academic conference or giving a lecture, polished delivery skills can mean the difference between an effective presentation/lecture and an ineffective one. Following are some delivery tips to help you.
Whether delivering a presentation at an academic conference or giving a lecture, polished delivery skills can mean the difference between an effective presentation/lecture and an ineffective one
The following best practices for creating PowerPoint presentations were compiled from Kapterev, Delwiche & Ananthanarayanan, and the University of Western Ontario’s “PowerPoint Primer."
The tools described below – Empathy Maps, Learner Personas, and Learner Journey Maps – can help you get a better sense of your learners’ lived experience.
While we often think of exams as a way to test students’ comprehension of material, exams can serve more than one purpose.
Whether delivering a presentation at an academic conference or giving a lecture, preparation is critical to a successful presentation
Prezi is a “pan and zoom” tool, which means that it allows you to create a multi-item presentation that your audience can explore either according to a pre-determined path or in whatever sequence they prefer
Critical thinking is a high priority outcome of higher education – critical thinking skills are crucial for independent thinking and problem solving in both our students’ professional and personal lives
Critical thinking is a high priority outcome of higher education – critical thinking skills are crucial
Classroom participation is a feature of many course designs
Effective question strategies capture students' attention, foster student involvement, and facilitate a positive, active learning environment
We are continually receiving and giving feedback.
Most people strive to be gracious and sensitive when accommodating another person's needs.
Resilient course design is a framework for understanding how to design courses that are less susceptible to disruption
Writing can be a powerful learning tool.
method of assessing concept maps, proposed by Novak and Gowin, is based on the components and structure of the map
Rubrics can be excellent tools to use when assessing students’ work for several reasons.
A screencast is a narrated video recording of your computer screen.
You're working on designing your course and now it's time to decide on the content and how to organize it
Learning independently can be challenging, even for the brightest and most motivated students.
Independent study experiences can be extremely rewarding both for students and their advising instructors
Social bookmarking tools allow you to save, curate, and share online resources.
Ensuring that courses and program activities include global perspectives is central to the development of an internationalized university.
This document provides brief guidance on appropriate ways of interacting with your classmates, teaching assistants, and instructors in online, professional contexts. It applies to email, online discussion groups, and online chats.
Supervision of undergraduate and graduate student research represents an important yet not often discussed component of an academic’s workload
While stress can be a normal part of the university experience, instructors can design courses that focus on learning while reducing the unnecessary hurdles that can increase stress and interfere with learning
As instructors and teaching assistants you often have direct communication with students and, therefore, you have the potential to help students feel connected and supported in their learning environment.
The first day of class sets the tone for the rest of the term.
Asynchronous learning means that the instructor and the students in the course all engage with the course content at different times (and from different locations)
Whether you are a new teaching assistant (TA) or an experienced TA for a course that is new to you, you need to know exactly what your responsibilities may be
The University of Waterloo’s Student Course Perceptions (SCP) survey includes ten core questions (individual faculties may seek to add additional questions)
Metacognition has been defined as “one’s knowledge concerning one’s own cognitive processes or anything related to them
Many instructors in engineering, math and science have students solve “problems”
Including well-designed library-based assignments in your courses can help build students’ research and thinking skills.
Audio version of "Teamwork skills: Being an effective group member" tip sheet (MP3)
A blended course sometimes reduces face-to-face "seat time" so that students can pursue additional teaching and learning activities online.
Thousands of books, manuals and how-to guides offer advice on research writing.
Timeline tools are used to create a horizontal "scroll bar" which is laid out with text, images, or videos that correspond to specific dates or events
All instructors want to assess fairly, but doing so can sometimes require extra effort, especially when a large number of students are being graded by multiple assessors
To help you reflect on your teaching, you need some data
When transitioning your class online, there are a variety of options for delivering your essential course content—especially lecture content—in the digital environment
A trigger warning is a statement made prior to sharing potentially disturbing content
Twitter allows you to share and find brief, text-based updates about things that are of interest to you. Users who follow you on Twitter are automatically sent your updates or “tweets".
Types of Assignments and Tests
As a provider of educational programs, the University of Waterloo is legally obligated to accommodate students with disabilities, as per the Ontario Human Rights Code
The idea of learning styles began in the 1970s, where a growing literature and industry posited that learners have specific, individualized ways of learning that work best for them
Good course design involves considering the strengths and needs of all learners.
Good teaching involves considering the strengths and needs of all learners.
Peer review, also called peer editing, peer feedback, and formative peer assessment, allows students to provide and receive feedback on an assignment before submitting it to the instructor
Turnitin is a text-matching tool for encouraging academic integrity
As learning tools, writing exercises are valuable because they help students think critically about course material while encouraging them to grasp, organize, and integrate prior knowledge with new concepts.
Virtual reality (VR) involves the use of technology to enter an alternate, three-dimensional view of the real world, a fantasy world,
The term universal design (UD) originated in the mid-1980s from the architect Ronald Mace, who is internationally recognized for advancing the concept and design of barrier-free buildings for people with disabilities
Handling problems during in-class group work
According to recent advances in neuroscience research, there is no such thing as an “average learner” (Rose & Meyer, 2002; Rose et al., 2013; Rose, 2016)
Instructors often focus on content when embarking on course design, but it's equally important to think about the net result of a course: student learning