Questions to Consider when Designing or Reviewing an Activity
- Are the activity and its assessment well aligned with the intended goal of the activity? In particular, will the activity lead to the desired learning? Are the assessments such that the instructor will be able to tell if this learning occurred?
- Does the activity capitalize on pedagogy that promotes learning? Please comment on each of the following questions as appropriate:
- Does the activity motivate and engage students?
- Does it build on what they know and address their initial beliefs?
- Is it appropriate for the variety of students expected in the class?
- Are students engaged in independent thinking and problem solving?
- Are there opportunities for students to iterate and improve their understanding incrementally?
- Is there an appropriate balance of guidance vs exploration?
- Does it include opportunities for reflection, discussion, and synthesis?
- Does it provide opportunities for students to assess their learning and confirm they are on the right track?
- Are the materials provided for students complete and helpful?
- Could this activity be easily used by someone else as it is presented? Are their sufficient tips, explanations, and or suggestions for instructional strategies that someone else could adapt or adopt the activity? Is there a description of the time needed to accomplish this activity? Are there tips for use of technology? Could the activity be adapted to an online or hybrid environment?
Tools for Reviewing Activities
- This rubric (Acrobat (PDF) 18kB Jul16 08) developed by Barb Tewksbury for On the Cutting Edge is designed to help you evaluate activities you have developed. Microsoft Word version (Microsoft Word 42kB Jun1 09)
- A slightly different rubric (Acrobat (PDF) 30kB Jul16 08) can be used to review and provide comments on activities that have been submitted by other faculty. Microsoft Word version (Microsoft Word 51kB Jun1 09)
- An observational protocol can be used to evaluate the success of an activity as you use it in the classroom. (Word version of this observational protocol (Microsoft Word 72kB Jan21 10)) This protocol was developed by the Using MARGINS Data in the Classroom project. The version presented here also reflects discussion by the PIs in the Cutting Edge project.
Resources for Activity Design
Aspects of Activity Design
- Teaching Methods - The Pedagogy in Action library of methods provides information on a wide variety of teaching methods and examples of their use.
- Assessment - This Cutting Edge resource reviews tools and gives examples of their use in geoscience courses.
- Affective Domain - Another Cutting Edge resource reviewing the role of the Affective Domain in teaching geoscience. There are separate discussions of motivations, self efficacy, assessment, and the dilemmas the affective domain poses in teaching.
- Metacognition A growing resource regarding what we mean by metacognition, strategies for developing students metacognitive skills, and tactics for assessment.
- Scaffolding A starting point for what we mean by scaffolding and how to use it. This is a dated site at this point – please don't hesitate to send recommendations for newer references.
- Teaching with Models - Looks at the various kinds of models and their use in teaching.
- Methods for Teaching Quantitative Skills. The discussions of Teaching with Equations, Back of the Envelope Calculations and Models might be particularly helpful.
- How People Learn - go here to order or obtain the full citation.
- Learning for Use - the full citation.
- Course Design Tutorial developed by Barb Tewksbury as part of the On the Cutting Edge program.
- References on Course Design Approaches including Wiggins and McTigue's Understanding by Design.
Developing Web-based Activity Sheets
- Tips for Writing for the Web Thoughts about writing for an audience that is looking not reading; handling long pages and more.
- Author Checklist How to tell when you are done - a checklist drawn from experience with reviewers
- Copyright Pointers Help determining if you are within the bounds of fair use.
- Editing Help - This provides complete and detailed instructions for page authoring. When you are editing a page there is also a link to help at the top of the green bar (upper right portion of the page) that contains a short help section that will get you through probably everything you'll need to know to create your activity page.