Before meeting on campus
Most teachers would agree that all learning activities benefit from having well prepared students. The digital transition has brought new ways in which teachers can prepare their students, and hopefully influenced a few of the old ones. Here you will find examples of things you can do, to help students prepare before coming to campus.
It’s easy to forget reading instructions, but they are still a very useful tool that help students to navigate the course content. Detailed reading instructions allow students to gain a preconception of the material being covered in lectures, and a chance to identify areas that are hard to grasp. There are a few things to consider if you want to be extra helpful, and link directly to texts from Canvas. For instance, posting scientific articles as PDFs in Canvas is generally not allowed.
See this guide from the library about linking correctly.
Having students prepare for a lecture by watching a video often works very well. Just be mindful that the purpose of having them watch the video must be clear and explicitly stated to them.
There are several potential benefits of quizzing students before coming to campus. Getting an approximation of students’ knowledge before a lecture is of use both for the teacher, and for the students themselves. You can gauge if they have interacted with the course material, and which parts of it that require extra explanation. To individual students, quizzes are an opportunity for instant feedback on whether they understood the content or not, something that is especially appreciated among more insecure students.
Canvas, Padlet and Mentimeter can all be used to gather thoughts and opinions ahead of campus sessions. You can, for example, ask students to read something from the literature list, and then submit one question each, or specify something they found hard. This forces students to be more aware when reading, and you can also adapt your lectures to reflect questions and comments from your students.
This is how you get better prepared students
All these things can of course be combined, and some degree of variation is often appreciated by students. The purpose of nearly all activities undertaken ahead of lectures are the same, to get better prepared students, know what they are struggling with, and allow students to better navigate the course material. (Nkomo & Nat, 2021, s. 813-814).
Nkomo, L. M., & Nat, M. (2021). Student Engagement Patterns in a Blended Learning Environment: an Educational Data Mining Approach. TechTrends, 65(5), 808-817.