When it comes to choosing instructional strategies for your course, there are a number of variables to consider including class size, learning outcomes, and time. The good news is, you don’t have to choose just one. By mixing various types of instructional strategies, students stay engaged and you can alter your style to fit the situation. Consider lecturing one day and having a cooperative learning exercise the next. Generate discussion with a demonstration and then challenge students to work in teams to solve problems. Here are some resources to help you find the right mix for your class.
Lecture still dominates as the primary instructional strategy used by faculty. Faculty using lecture follow a great tradition of sharing information orally. When choosing to lecture, consider the best practices that can improve its effectiveness.
Experiential learning offers students engagement, activities, exercises, and assignments that either involve or are based on real-life situations. Students actively apply the knowledge, skills, and concepts they learn in class. Students follow engagement with reflection to help them process the experience. This increases understanding, improves retention of the material, and creates a sense of relevance. Click here to learn more about this important teaching tool.
The ability to work in groups is one of the top requirements of employers. Students, on the other hand, tend to hate them. This comes from years of experience with dysfunctional teams caused by a lack of instruction on how to work successfully in a group. The good news is that TLS has resources to help you help your students. Check out our resources for both faculty and students here.
Cooperative learning allow students to share ownership of learning and knowledge through collaboration and teamwork. This instructional strategy features shared learning goals and a requirement that students complete specific tasks and assignments as a team. The teacher’s role is to prepare the lesson, explain the task, monitor the learning, intervene when necessary, and assess achievement of the goals.
Visit these sites for more information on cooperative learning:
Ready to turn your class upside down? Try a flipped model. The key feature of the flipped class is the different use of in-class and out-of-class time.
Out of class: watch videos, read articles, view recorded lectures, and generally get prepped on the information necessary for the in-class activities.
In-Class: engage students in activities, hands-on project, problem-based learning, and demonstrations to use the content they learned out of class.
Ready to flip? Contact TLS for a consultation and get in touch with OIT to learn more about lecture capture at UTSA. Here are some resources:
- UTSA OIT Lecture Capture
- 7 Things You Need to Know About Flipped Classrooms
- Expanding the Definition of a Flipped Learning Environment
Discussion offers the opportunity to hear student perspectives and engage in debate and dialogue, but it also presents challenges like encouraging participation among a wide variety of students, ensuring a variety of ideas and points of view are heard, and helping students engage in civil dialogue about difficult topics. Here are some of our favorite resources to help improve the experience and increase learning:
- How to Ask a Question
- How to Lead a Discussion
- Tips for Using Discussion in Large Classes
- Facilitating Class Discussions and Navigating Difficult Conversations
- Free Speech Resources
- Balancing Classroom Civility and Free Speech: Lessons from a history classroom. An Essay by UTSA History Professor, Catherine Nolan-Ferrell for AAUP