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There are many exciting ways to conduct our classes that veer away from the traditional lecture format and enhance students’ learning experiences. Some of these include flipped classrooms, active learning activities, and using technology in the classroom. It might feel intimidating to try something new when we are so used to the traditional lecture method, but there is good news! There are steps we can take to making sure new activities run smoothly.

Before incorporating new teaching methods into your course, do the following:

  • Consider your course learning goals. It can be tempting to try something new and exciting, especially if it’s something that has been implemented successfully in another course, but always make sure everything ties back to your learning goals. First ask yourself, will this work towards my course learning goals? Is anything extraneous? Only incorporate new activities that will help facilitate learning towards the desired course outcomes.
  • Do your research. Does the research support your new idea? Has this been done before? There is a wide variety of pedagogical research available. Check out the Kaneb library for many resources on teaching and pedagogy.
  • Discuss new ideas with a colleague.  Run your ideas by a teaching mentor or colleague. Perhaps they’ve done something similar in the past, and you can learn from their experiences. You can also schedule an individual consultation in the Kaneb Center.
  • Stick with the syllabus. Try not to make any major changes to your course design mid-semester. Remember that your syllabus is a contract with your students, and you don’t want to stray too much. If you have a great idea that doesn’t fit into your current syllabus, flesh it out this semester, and work it into a future class.
  • Do a test run. Make sure you’ve planned everything out, and do a practice run on your own first. Try and anticipate any issues ahead of time, so you can resolve them before implemented the new strategy in your class.

We hope these tips help when you are trying something new in the classroom. Afterwards, make sure you take time to reflect on how it went. Share your successes below!

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