Taking Time to Reflect

There’s been a lot of discussion about the need for instructors to rethink their delivery for remote teaching, but there also changes for students with the change in instructional methods.  Students face a greater reliance on self-checking their progress on materials and in finding a different way to look at taking classes.  This past week the University of Alberta published a really good article about that change, you can read it here: Why remote learning needs new ways of thinking.

Students have to plan their approach to their courses, from when and how to take in new materials, to planning when to tackle assignments, and including how they will check their understanding of the lesson on their own. 

The UA article suggests that students need to take time out for reflection; reflection about their understanding of the materials, reflection around what more they need to master the concepts, and reflection around the application of the ideas they are taking in. 

As instructors, we can help students with that.  

  • Consider including the lesson outcomes in your materials: “At the end of this lesson, students should be able to ….”.   This makes it very clear to students what they need to know or be able to do when they assess themselves, it is a very easy benchmark that instructors should look at later when building assessments.
  • Consider including the learning outcome or purpose to an assignment.  Students can gain a faster understanding of the assignment if they know the intent behind it and can then check themselves for understanding the application of course concepts in the broader context. 
  • Consider adding time or place into the course for students to discuss their reflections.  This can be a great way for instructors to see how the learning is going, with no marks assigned, correcting any misconceptions and praising mastery and understanding. 

Ultimately, it is always up to the student to learn the material, as instructors we can help them to get there.  Everyone has to make adjustments; students may need some guidance to do that and that’s where the instructor can step in. 

More Zoom tips

The most recent podcast from Teaching in Higher Education is a discussion with Dan Levy from the Harvard Kennedy School and author of a book on teaching with Zoom, it also shares some of his resources on making breakout rooms effective. Clear here on the link to listen and access the resources.

I especially liked Dan’s tips on breakout rooms and how to make them more effective by combing them with Google slides or Google docs to see the work being done in the breakout rooms live.