At Teaching and Learning Services, we regularly receive questions from instructors asking for ideas to enhance their teaching and improve students’ engagement in class. So, we’ve recorded 2-3 minute video bites that describe how to implement some strategies we’ve chosen based on relative ease of implementation, suitability for different class sizes, and their representation of a variety of interaction types. We’ll be sharing these strategies in the Teaching for Learning @McGill University blog over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Strategy: myCourses/course outline scavenger hunt
Use a short list of questions to get students to attend to main features of the course website and/or important information in the course outline.
Why use this strategy?
On the first day of classes, I, like other instructors, share either a hard copy or electronic copy of the course outline with students. (Actually, at McGill, the course outline must be provided to students during the first week of classes according to the McGill Charter of Students’ Rights (Chapter One, Article 10.2 – amended by McGill Senate 21 January 2009 – of the Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities, available as a PDF. I hope all students will be motivated to read it attentively on their own because it has information that is important for them to succeed at the course. But my hope has been repeatedly dashed. So, I tried a more directive approach: orally “walking” students through salient points of the course outline (can you say tedious?) and asking students to pose questions about anything that’s unclear. No questions. Great. It’s confirmation that I write clear course outlines. Probably not. More likely, students don’t have enough time to take in the content of this truly important document. So, I switched approaches again. On the first day of class, students now have to engage in an awareness-raising activity whereby they have to find important information in the course outline. Read more.
Would you like to know more?
- More ideas for getting students to prepare for class
- Other First Day of Class Activities that Create a Climate for Learning
- More Video Bites on strategies to engage students in their learning
- Not sure what to include in your course outline? All the info is in TLS’ Course Outline Brief Guide.
Check out the other posts in the Strategy Bites series:
What do you do to ensure students are prepared for class?
Featured Image photo credit: Victor Tangerman
Associate Director, Faculty and Teaching Development, and Senior Academic Associate, at McGill's Teaching and Learning Services; former Senior Faculty Lecturer at the McGill Writing Centre; area of specialization: Second Language Education; loves teaching and learning!
(Photo credit: Owen Egan)