5 Steps to Refresh Your Course
It’s a New Year and time to take a new look at our work. Here are 5 steps that can help you refresh your course.
1.Find a Course Buddy.
Like the TV commercial that uses the term – nose blind – which means we can get used to smells and don’t smell them – we, too, can become course blind. That is, we might have issues or problems in our courses that we don’t even recognize. Having a friend or colleague review your course and give you feedback is probably the best way to get you to look at things with new eyes. Choose someone you respect and trust and ask them to look through your course.
2. What is the most important thing in your course you want your students to remember? As educators and researchers we know a lot and often can get caught up in wanting to share. It’s important to step back and think about what is THE most important concept that you would like your students to take away from your course. Once you focus on the key concept, then you can go back and make sure you are doing everything you can to strengthen that through the entire course. Maybe even consider adding a new way to learn the concept.
3. Take a small part of your course and flip it!
Flip is a fun way to say change it or think of it another way. Something that could be really useful is changing the way you give your students feedback on assignments. Often we provide feedback in writing. Tone and meaning can be missed with this approach. Have you thought about trying video feedback that’s personalized? When your students can hear your concern or excitement they may be more motivated to make changes needed for their personal growth and learning.
4. Do your students have an opportunity to shine in your course?
We all have unique talents. It’s important as educators that we remember and allow our students to showcase their different thinking processes and talents. Throughout your course it’s best to have a variety of assignments and assessments asking students to use different types of skills to demonstrate their mastery of the learning objectives. Artistically displaying a math concept or writing up new math problems allows students to show you they understand the concept without having to “do” the math.
5. Turn a “tell them” into a “do”.
Easier said than done in the online world but still a goal to strive for. What can you do to provide life and feeling to a concept? Writers are challenged to engage a reader in the action by involving senses and feelings. Can you tell a story to give life to concept? Instead of writing out detailed instructions on how to properly format a research paper, try recording a screencast (using Jing from TechSmith or Screencast-O-Matic) and show them specifically how you would like the paper formatted.
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