For most of us, moving to distance learning is a harsh but unparalleled learning experience. The most obvious lesson is that it is easy for students to get out of study or off track or feel lost and unsupported.

This experience emphasizes the importance of learning-centered curriculum design: organize the curriculum around clearly defined learning objectives and ensure that classroom activities and assessments are closely integrated with these learning objectives.

This shift to online delivery also highlights the following values:

clear
Ensure that expectations are transparent, presentations are easy to follow, basic rules of the course are well understood, and explanations are clear.

organization
Ensure that the structure of the entire course and individual courses is logical and coherent.

got engaged
By highlighting the value and relevance of themes, concepts, and reading materials, it reveals the importance of stimulating students’ curiosity, maintaining their attention, and maximizing their motivation for learning.

participate
Do our best to encourage all students to play an active role in the classroom, ask and answer questions, participate in classroom discussions, and participate in classroom activities.

support
Pay close attention to the signs of student confusion or disengagement, and then proactively intervene to resolve misunderstandings or other learning disabilities, and ensure that students have a sense of connection and belonging.

flexibility
Willing to meet the needs of students by modifying deadlines and providing alternative methods to demonstrate mastery of basic course materials,

Want to make your fall courses better? Here are ten ideas, I can assure you that they will work, and these ideas come from our experience in the past school years.

1. Keep in touch with your students
Investigate your students regularly to understand their concerns, interests, and mentality. Do not limit this check-in to academic affairs only.

2. Give up authority and make students responsible for the success of the class
Ask students to introduce each lesson. Ask them to explain why the theme of the meeting is important. Let them determine the theme and animation issues of the meeting. In addition, consider having students act as co-hosts or facilitators.

3. Use the round-robin method to ensure that all students participate
I often ask each student to read aloud and comment on short excerpts from the main source. In other courses, students may be asked to build on the argument of the previous student or explain a concept in their own words. The goal is for every student, not just the most extroverted student, to play an active role in the classroom.

4. Embed inquiry and problem solving in classroom sessions
Nothing can arouse students’ curiosity more than mysterious, contradictory, or convincing questions. You might consider having your students conduct a research treasure hunt in which they must find the answers to your questions. Or consider holding a short brainstorming session.

5. Encourage classroom chat-and ask students to monitor the chat
In the classroom, when students express confusion or react to comments from professors or classmates, many backstage conversations occur. Consider using tools (such as Teams, Slack, or even Google Doc) to capture these informal conversations.

6. Use low-risk quizzes, surveys or learning response tools to monitor student learning
Retrieval practice through frequent, low-risk tests is an evidence-based method that embeds key concepts and information into long-term memory.

7. Use images, statistics, video clips, music, and objects to prompt the discussion
By showing students paintings or photos, music or video clips, objects or artifacts, diagrams or statistics, I can give them the opportunity to easily practice and hone their interpretation skills.

8. Let students process and apply information
Students learn best when they have the opportunity to process and apply course content. Create classroom opportunities for students to visualize or explain key concepts and apply skills, methods, and content to compelling problems.

9. Let students show off the project
A 3-minute student-created digital story or PowerPoint presentation can really enliven the classroom atmosphere and make students feel like a creator of knowledge. You will be amazed by the creativity of your students. In past, present, and future museum courses, I asked students to design museum exhibitions; in a small part of the introduction to American history, students used their own family experiences to create visuals about immigration or war experiences or participation in the civil rights movement. Montage.

10. Develop grading standards together before the assignment deadline
It is precisely because the grading standards clarify the criteria for evaluating the work of students, the collective development of grading standards provides a powerful way to clarify your expectations and achievement metrics. This has an additional benefit to help students understand that grading is not a completely arbitrary and subjective process, but is based on carefully considered criteria and benchmarks. This process also allows you to provide students with models or examples.

Even a bad experience may be the best opportunity for growth. This view is the main content of popular self-help literature. But this does not mean that our beliefs that we can learn from negative experiences are necessarily wrong. Sometimes, a challenging environment can inspire the best in us.

The pandemic is a learning opportunity. It reveals that the adaptability, agility and flexibility of higher education are much stronger than many people imagine.

Of course, it is up to us to transform negative experiences into positive lessons. Let us build on the knowledge we have learned to make our courses more interactive, immersive, participatory and participatory.

During the epidemic, what did you learn in teaching?

Steven Mintz is a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin



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