Active Learning

I’m a big proponent of active learning, where the instructor has the students do some activity during the class as part of the learning.  This article:

Written for Magna Publications’ Teaching in Higher Education website puts the spotlight on how active learning can go amiss.

In using activities during your lesson, it’s important to remember what the learning outcome is.  Are you doing an activity for the sake of killing time?  That shouldn’t be the reason, if you are using an activity specifically for a learning objective, that expectation should be clear to you in designing and selecting the activity.

I’ve often found it useful after an activity to share with the class specifically what the purpose was.  If you are struggling to find two or three sentences to say what the objective was, the learning outcome may be missing.

With our full time classes, 6 hours can be a long, long time to sit and just listen, so I always encourage the use of activities.  Just be sure that they have a purpose that ties the activity the day’s learning outcomes.

Improving Discussions in the Classroom

If you are looking at using discussions in your class, or looking to improve on what you are already doing, check out this article for some tips and ideas:–IFDn7L_EcP4yPLTmZ60KMfa9I-lYwnsewkyb4qtjYQ0AH0Qkdt37zfBBqEe3s5WwgSaYqW87VBUpj5AuMK1yWkCapdQ&_hsmi=59834196#continued

Changes to PACE Policies

PACE is making changes to our policies in regards to:

  • exam entry times
  • methods of assessment

You will be receiving an email with full details, as well as the details being posted to the Nexus Instructor Communication Portal,  Here’s a summary, but be sure to read the FULL details in your email or in nexus:

Change Date  
Exam Entry Policy All exams and mid-terms on or after March 1 Mandatory

No late entry once door closed

Participation Any methods of evaluation submitted after Feb. 15 Optional

Maximum value 5%

(online courses are exempt)

Group mark Any methods of evaluation submitted after Feb. 15 Optional

Maximum value 25%

Grammar & Spelling Full time: Courses starting on or after May 1

Part time: Courses starting on or after April 1


Included in rubric, must be 20% of assignment total


Administering Quizzes

While it’s rare, from time to time, suspicions of cheating arise during instructor run quizzes. To help prevent misconduct issues, administering quizzes should be treated like exams and midterms.  While it won’t guarantee there are no issues, it can help prevent cheating, and leads students towards consistent behavior if all PACE instructors are on the same page.

The exam protocols grew out of trial and error, along with a few incidents, but the tips from those practices can be beneficial to a quiz:

  • Use different versions

Since quizzes are short, and often multiple choice, mixing up the question order, changing the order in which answers appear, or making small changes to math questions, discourages students from copying off their neighbor.  A student with version A is between students with version B of the quiz, there’s no point to looking at your neighbor!

  • Have a designated start time, with no late entry

Just like exams and midterms, tell students what time the quiz is at, close the door at the designated time,.  If students know in advance they are going to miss a quiz, they can ask about moving the value; if they are late, while unfortunate, they shouldn’t be allowed in the room.  It prevents students from communicating questions and answers from the room to those waiting outside.

  • Backpacks, phones, smart watches are all at the front of the room

It’s too easy for students to have study material with them at the desk, so just like an exam, take a moment to have the desks cleared and materials at the front or back of the class.  If you are running a quiz at 9 a.m., it’s easy for students to be prepared and drop their gear as they come in.

  • Use a helper

While PACE does not bring in invigilators for quizzes, we can have someone from the office help with supervising a quiz.  Quizzes are typically 10 – 15 minutes, and arrangements can be made from someone to help out with prior notice.

  • No parrots, no giraffes

Just like an exam, there should be no talking (parrots) and no looking around (giraffes, to use nicknames from one of our students).  Setting consistent expectations should prevent the sharing of information.


Consistent approaches by all instructors helps set expectations for students.  That leads to standards of behaviour, students know what to expect for a quiz with every instructor and can easily follow the rules.

If you run into a situation that you feel is suspicious or concerning, feel free to reach out to me or your program manager.