Musings and professional dossier of an educator, geographer, and educational developer

Tag: teaching

Estimating student hours of effort

Consider the following questions:

  • How do I know if the workload for my existing course is reasonable?
  • When designing a new course, how do I judge a reasonable student workload?
  • When redesigning a course, how do I determine whether new components are balanced by the removal of other components?
  • When flipping or blending a course, how do I ensure that online or out-of-class components of the course are not overwhelming students?

In some cases, you can ask students using a survey or focus group how much time they spend on the course. However, that is not always possible especially within a course design or redesign process. You can also do your own estimates of how much time an average successful student ought to be spending each week and how they could be effectively spending that time. This all boils down to a question:

How much am I asking students to do each week, and is it a reasonable amount?

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Reflections on an in-class research conference

Learning outcomes are aligned with assessments which in turn are aligned with Teaching and Learning Activities

By the end of my 3rd year environmental change course, students are expected to demonstrate that they can orally communicate environmental change research to specialist and non-specialist audiences. To assess this learning outcome, students deliver research presentations at a mini-conference that they organize themselves. I have been so pleased with the presentations themselves and at the opportunity for community building that I thought it was worth sharing the experience.

My assessment planning (simplified below) is guided by principles of constructive alignment to ensure that students learn the skills they need to succeed at demonstrating their achievement of the outcome.

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