You prepare a great lesson and class goes well, but the following week the students seem to have forgotten all that they learned. What’s happening? Perhaps they’re missing the opportunity to practice retrieving information.
Idea: Incorporate a stretch break into your videos and/or written instructions (avoid ableism when doing so).
Idea: Add non-course-related questions to quizzes or tests, such as asking students to share a song they enjoy or choosing from a list of activities such as exercising for five minutes, cooking something new, connecting with a family member, or taking a walk outside (if they can do so safely).
Idea: What is one small thing you can add to your course to be the equivalent of making one’s bed in the morning? Something small and achievable is the first step to success.
Please add your own ideas for providing clear course navigation in the Open Space doc.
Ideas Mentioned in Video:
Pin a “Quick Start Guide” in an easy-to-access place that students visit often (such as the course landing page).
Students may get overwhelmed when presented with too much information at once. Use the “Adaptive Release” feature on Blackboard so that not all information is available up front.
If you use Google Docs for your syllabus, use a black highlighter to cover information that isn’t relevant this early in the semester. This allows students who do like to know everything up front to check what’s coming by highlighting over it, while those who are overwhelmed by too much information don’t need to access it yet.
Think of your course like you would if you wanted someone to bake muffins or travel to a destination. What information do they need?
Quick Start Guide ideas:
The screenshot below is from a template I created for professors. ***I realize a screenshot is not fully accessible; if anyone reading this would like access to the entire Blackboard course template, email me at Carolyn.Stallard@guttman.cuny.edu***
Another example: Here is one version I’ve used for my courses. I also use a sort of delayed “quick start” video that I post after students have a handle on how the course functions, as a reminder. I send this video out at the end of Week 3, after all information on the syllabus has been un-blackened. Take this with a grain of salt, since my courses are set up in a kind of atypical manner.
Hide an Easter Egg in your syllabus. Easter eggs are hidden pieces of information that reveal who has accessed your material (an example is available in the syllabus annotation activity).
Add images to your syllabus, but make them accessible with alternate text
Design a syllabus quiz or scavenger hunt for students.
Kahoot! and Quizizz are free online tools for creating asynchronous or synchronous quizzes
321Go! for synchronous Zoom sessions. Ask students a question. Have them type responses in the chat but tell them not to press Enter until you say so. Then say “321Go!” as all answers appear at once.
Black out portions of the syllabus you don’t need yet. If students see too much information at once, they are less likely to read it.
Design a “choose-your-own-adventure” activity with Google Forms. A quick Google search can uncover many guides and templates for creating a form. Here is one guide.
Check in with the students and have them workshop any syllabus revisions with you. They will feel more agency over the syllabus if they help design a piece.
If you meet synchronously, use breakout rooms for student competition. First, ask the entire class what information they think they need to succeed in class. Collect the responses. Then, break students into group and have them compete against each other to find each piece of information in the syllabus. The first group to finish wins.
Use Think Pair Share: Have students review the syllabus on their own, then pair them up to share their understanding of the document, discuss confusion, etc. Have them write out their feedback to share with you (they can even do this anonymously if they want).
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