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Activity Design

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Questions to Consider when Designing or Reviewing an Activity

slides (PowerPoint 224kB Jan29 10)

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. Are the materials provided for students complete and helpful?
  4. 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

These questions come from discussions at activity development workshops of the characteristics that make an activity excel, and of the features of an activity sheet that make it useful to other faculty. They bring together ideas that resulted from participants own experience teaching, from the review of activities in the workshop and from discussions of literature on teaching problem solving, learning more broadly, and curriculum design. They were originally developed in the Teaching Quantitative Skills workshop series on activity development and review; they were refined by participants in workshops creating and reviewing activities as part of the Pedagogies in Action Project (Physics, Statistics, Mathematics).

Resources for Activity Design


Aspects of Activity Design

Course Design

Developing Web-based Activity Sheets


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