How to Design Quality Instruction for the College Classroom
The process of planning a college course can be stimulating, mentally motivating, and pleasurable. It can also be a little daunting and a somewhat vague. The following questions and issues should be considered when designing quality instruction for the college classroom. Other information can be found at www.joinitaa.com.
1. What are the major considerations that need to be included in creating a course? There are at least three: 1) what to teach (content and skill); 2) how to teach (lecture, role playing, demonstration, etc.); and, 3) evaluation of teaching (are the students learning?) Educators are likely to continually revisit these considerations throughout their teaching. There are developments in the discipline, teachers learn better ways to teach, and instructors must find ways to stay interested in the material and keep their students interested.
2. What resources are needed to facilitate learning? First, the instructor should be sure that the basics will be available in the proposed classroom (chairs and tables, adequate heat, light and acoustics, practical material presentation such as projectors, technology or photocopies, etc.) Additionally, there are many things teachers can do to facilitate optimal presentation of their course content, such as gleaning the wisdom of colleagues who have previously taught the material, comparing texts for new ideas as well as taking advantage of physical resources in the community for real-life experiences.
3. What real and possible limitations might affect course delivery? When designing quality instruction for the college classroom, many unexpected surprises can be avoided. One must consider issues with physical classroom facilities, constraints by department or program guidelines, and the role of the course content in the context of the degree or program.
4. What level of student expertise will learners bring to this specific learning experience? Will they already know the basics of this material, or is it necessary to lay the foundation in this course? Will they possess skill sets that enable them to fully engage the material, like math or writing?
5. One easily overlooked consideration are the responsibilities and constraints students have in addition to a single class. These include living situations, additional coursework, employment, and family responsibilities. These factors will affect the learning process. A wise instructor will make an effort to understand their average students’ situations and avoid placing unnecessary complications and aggravations upon overloaded students.
6. One’s own teaching skills should be considered in light of the complexity of the material and the learning style of the students. Effective teachers are continually self-evaluating for best practices in the classroom that result in a high level of learner engagement and retention of knowledge.
7. Finally, the outcome should be measurable. What testing standards and data should be pursued in course design? What are the appropriate practices for this course material? Is the result relevant to the area of study?
There are many factors to consider when designing quality instruction for the college classroom. Good instructors consider more than the content of the course itself in order to maximize value and minimize detraction from the educational experience. Please see www.joinitaa.com for more information on how to design quality instruction for the college classroom.