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Your Top Course Challenge: Course Readiness

Students are not starting the semester with the required prerequisite knowledge.

CONSIDER THIS

3 reasons this course challenge could exist:

  • The student has been out of school for a while and is returning.
  • Students may have misunderstood the level or intent of the course. 
  • Students’ previous instructors/institution were less rigorous.
TRY THIS

3 suggestions for overcoming this course challenge:

  • Assess knowledge gaps early so students can focus on the concepts they have not yet mastered.
  • Provide students with a prerequisite skills checklist along with resources to self-study.
  • Use the first 5 minutes of class on "pre-lecture" basics in order to level the playing field.
Your Top Course Challenge: Student Preparedness

Students are not coming to class having read or reviewed materials outside of class and ready to learn.

CONSIDER THIS

3 reasons this course challenge could exist:

  • Students are often most motivated by work that might influence their grade. If you're not assigning points to students' practice work they might not perceive them as having value.
  • You may be doing all the work for them. If you spend class time lecturing on every basic term and definition, students have no reason to read outside of class.
  • Students don't see the connection between in-class and out-of-class activities.
TRY THIS

3 suggestions for overcoming this course challenge:

  • Assign a grade to homework (low stakes assignment, quiz, etc.).
  • Spend less time lecturing on the basics. Expect your students to have familiarity with terms and definitions before coming to class.
  • Be explicit in your lectures. When possible, tell the students directly what will be on their quizzes and exams. Make sure that your homework assignments compliment your in-class discussions so that students understand their relevance and value.
A Top Course Challenge: In-Class Student Engagement

Students are not participating in active learning, class activities/discussions, and group work.

CONSIDER THIS

3 reasons this course challenge could exist:

  1. Too much lecture; students don't have the opportunity to engage.
  2. Students are embarrassed or shy in front of their peers and as a result don't speak up in class.
  3. The concepts are too high-level or too low-level. Students are either lost or bored. 
TRY THIS

3 suggestions for overcoming this course challenge:

  1. Spend less time lecturing and more time in group/pair activities. Have students bring in their own examples to illustrate the topic. Mix things up by showing a short video. 
  2. Offer bonus points for good questions or incorporate a participation grade. Try online submissions, as they can allow quiet students to collect and articulate their thoughts. 
  3. Check understanding often. Do more quizzes and more frequent low-stakes assessment. 
Your Top Course Challenge: Critical Thinking

You have difficulty getting students past memorization to application of concepts and analyzing more complex scenarios.

CONSIDER THIS

3 reasons this course challenge could exist:

  • Many students have never been taught how to think critically. They often take information at face value, without questioning bias or examining assumptions.
  • The course material is dense and the semester is short so there's not enough time for an instructor to create or find critical thinking exercises.
  • It's difficult to get students to participate in critical thinking exercises, they prefer the security of being told what the concepts are.
TRY THIS

3 suggestions for overcoming this course challenge:

  • Practice! Do more application in class and homework. Challenge students more in class. All assignments need to have a critical thinking component.
  • Consider flipping the classroom, assign the main content of your lecture for students to read or watch before coming to class. Associate points with this work, and then spend your class time reviewing and practicing this material as a critical thinking exercise.
  • Have students present and teach! Teaching and explaining a concept is one of the best ways to show understanding. Have your students do oral presentations to explain the topics after they master the concept.

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Anatomy & Physiology Resources for Your Course

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