The 8 Second Rule

When you pose a question to the class, how long do you wait before you give the answer or rephrase the question?  A study at a US college found that instructors answered their own questions in less than one second.  That’s not enough time for students to:

  1. Process what’s been asked.
  2. See if they can formulate an answer to the question.
  3. Formulate an answer in their head (how they will convey their answer).
  4. Decide if it is safe to answer.
  5. Raise their hand, or speak (depending on the cultural rules in the classroom).

A better practice is to wait 8 seconds, even counting in your head or out loud to give students time to think.

If you add to point #1 that many of our PACE students need to translate the question in their heads, and translate the answer back, that adds additional time that it takes.  So pause.

Source: Eight Seconds that will Transform your Teaching:

Developing and Creating Assignments

Ensuring that assignments align with the learning outcomes of a course is a relatively easy step, however, adding more value to assignments can be challenging.

From time to time, students are concerned about the value of an assignment as at times, the amount of work and expectations of the assignment may be disproportionate to the value of the assignment.  For example, an assignment worth2% requesting 25 pages of written work would be considered disproportionate (and an extreme one at that!).  Within a course, instructors should look at what is being asked of in terms of writing, difficulty of the assignment, and work involved.  Different types of assignments can then be compared to each to ensure that there is a degree of fairness and consistency across the course assignments.

To add value to assignments, beyond the marks in the class, think of the usefulness of the assignment outside of the classroom context.  It is helpful to create assignments that build on one another, or assignments that may be useful for students outside of the academic context.

The PACE program focuses on helping students gain employment after they complete their programs. Adding assignments as part of a portfolio can assist students in developing a professional portfolio which can act as a great tool for students to highlight what they can offer in the workplace.