Instructional Strategies and Tools

Instructional Strategies

Learning Pyramid with Bloom's Taxonomy demonstrating that lecture relates to comprehension and practicing, doing, and teaching relate to evaluation and synthesisThere are many strategies that you can use in the classroom, and probably already use a number of different ones to reach and engage students. However, it never hurts to take a step back and consider what you do in the classroom and within your course to be sure that you are addressing your students in the most appropriate ways based on the objectives you have set forth in your class.

Bloom’s Taxonomy and the “learning pyramid” can provide you with some guidance as to the types of activities that can produce the best results with students. For example, lecture and recitation is a strategy that works well for baseline information and when students need to be able to learn and remember key concepts. However, in applying those concepts in projects, tests, and other activities, it may be a good idea to include audiovisuals, demonstrations, discussions, practices, and even encouraging students to teach others. In this way, students get more opportunities to use what they know in different ways, helping students more thoroughly internalize what they have learned.

You may wish to take a Teaching Practice Inventory, such as the one developed at the University of British Columbia, to help you assess what you currently do in your classes, giving you a complete picture of your teaching strategies. The UBC inventory tool only takes about 10-15 minutes to complete and can be a very valuable assessment tool.

In addition, you may wish to return to your Course Blueprint and the Quality Matters rubric, which can help you see where you are in terms of your objectives and strategies, and how they align together. Are there any gaps in your assessments? Are there any places where students need additional practice on specific skills in order to be able to reach higher levels of competence? These are great questions to ask as you move through your course design journey.


Web 2.0 Tools- Engage Students and Increase Online Collaboration

Technology can, of course, help expand the options for activities that are available to you and your students. Below are resources related to just a few excellent tools for engaging your students in different ways online, or in the classroom, through freely available Web 2.0 technologies. You may also want to visit our tutorial resource on Web 2.0 tools for more information.

Google Docs logo Google docs is a free web-based tool that allows multiple users to share and edit a common file in real time or asynchronous.  It is an effective tool for facilitating group collaborative projects.  Students can also use Google Plus to meet virtually for group work and/or presentations.  All students need is a Google account. 
Student guide for collaborating and meeting online
Faculty Guide for Google Docs
Faculty Guide- Host Online Meetings with Google Plus Guide
Video Tutorials
Wikispaces logo Wikis are a free collaborative tool that anyone can use.  They are an effective way to have students collaborate in the online environment by creating and editing a common webpage, including adding images and hyperlinks to videos, articles, and websites.
Video Demo (1:49)
Edublogs logo Blogs are an effective tool for increasing student cooperation, reflection, and collaboration in the online environment.  Best of all, they are free!  In the fall 2011 semester, Sara Kohn, a graduate student from Purdue Calumet created the following resources for PNC faculty and students:
Step-by-step guide for FACULTY(PDF)
Step-by-step guide for STUDENTS(PDF)
Prezi logo Prezi is a free online presentation tool that allows you and/or your students to create interactive, animated, and engaging presentations.  They follow a “path” and allow zoom in and out capability.
Video- Getting Started
More Video Tutorials
Second Life logo Second Life is a virtual world that is free to join.  Some of the educational opportunities it provides include: allowing classes to meet in the virtual world and participate in virtual field trips, give live presentations, network with students and professionals from around the world and much more.
Video Tour of SL (7:00)
How could you use it? (Website)