Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching is a free massive open online course (MOOC) designed for new teachers, those who wish to enhance student learning or teaching practice and emerging leaders in higher education.

You can enrol now.

Planning for learning is Module 2. It is part of the ‘New to teaching’ pathway through the course.

Set yourself and your students up for success!

Created by Rosie Greenfield (Victoria University) and Sally Gauci (Victoria University), the module introduces four critical elements in planning for learning: the learning context, learning outcomes, learning tasks, and checking for learning.

1. What is the context for learning?

2. What are the learning outcomes for your unit(s)?

3. How does learning happen?

4. How will you know that students are learning?

Image (right) created by Rosie Greenfield & Dr Sally Gauci (Planning for learning authors).

The module takes participants through these elements with resources including exemplars and templates for lesson plans, learning design and good teaching practices. There’s even a suggestion for a one sentence lesson plan! In this class, students will be able to [accomplish Outcome X] by [using Method Y], so that [they will be helped in Z way].

The voices of experienced teachers offer some advice:

“Much better to go slower and let the students show what they know rather than reading and controlling the information – focus on the students rather than focus on me – I remember at first they were just a sea of faces rather than individual people with individual lives – it’s not about me!”

“Being able to say or show in a really simplistic way the structure of concepts … I often draw … as I am saying things … To explain a complex idea straight up, start with a humorous version or a send up or a simplified version as a way of scaffolding to it, but move fairly quickly as the students who get it don’t want to waste their time.”

“Giving time to talk about it at the end of the sessions … not that they can say what you said but that they can translate it into another language or medium or action… Get the students to draw a mind map or talk to the person next to them.”

Planning for learning promotes active learning strategies. For example: Rather than start by presenting content for a new topic, ask your students a question designed to check their current understandings.

“To help the class move beyond information sharing to active learning and application of knowledge … I get students to form small groups in class and ask them to discuss cases and to solve problems. Let the students take the lead. (This) process requires me (the teacher) to trust the chaos – the buzz. I walk around and check in on the groups.”

Best of luck planning your teaching!

Enrol to access more Planning for learning content. It’s free!

The Contemporary Approaches to University Teaching MOOC is free, self-paced and open to all. You can choose to complete just one module, a whole pathway (eg New to Teaching which is 8 modules) or more. Each module takes approximately 2 hours.

Previous posts in this series: Teaching your first class


Banner image: Photo on  Flickr

Posted by Agnes Bosanquet

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