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Reflect and Refresh

Taking the time to reflect, rethink and revise your course

The end of a semester may mean a new level of freedom for an instructor, but before you unwind for some well-deserved time off, take some time to have an honest look at what shape your course is in for future sessions. Even among the best of courses, there is potential for continuous course improvement to meet the changing needs of the students, the changing landscape of post-education jobs within the discipline, and to align with evolving SU initiatives! Taking the time now can help reduce the stress of last-minute changes and modifications before you deliver content in the fall. Below are some examples of areas for reflection and simple strategies that can help you prepare for the next time you teach your course.


Ask yourself these questions: 

  1. Rethink your syllabus. Are your learning objectives transparent and relevant to your students? Does your syllabus use inclusive language? Are there tools and features in MyClasses that can make your course more engaging? Is your syllabus accessible to all learners? Consider alternatives or modifications that can breathe new life into your course structure.
  2. Listen to Your Students. What areas or items in the course did students identify as areas that presented challenges for them? Is it time to revitalize your learning activities and assessments with something new or interactive? Consider resources or activities that might enhance their experience and mitigate those challenges.
  3. Consider Modifying Assessments/Assignments. When was the last time you updated your course assignments? Do your assessments or activity assignments align to your course objectives? Have you integrated Inclusive Teaching practices such as UDL into the design of your assignments? Do you have a variety of activities and assessments? Do you have clear instructions and grading rubrics for your assignments? Which assignments best lend themselves to trying something new? Consider whether your assessments measure student success in meeting course objectives or if they are misaligned.
  4. Assess the Quality of Materials. Are there materials that need to be updated or changed? Are your PowerPoints clear and free of “word clutter”? Can videos be edited to deliver more direct instruction or concise presentation of information? Are videos closed-captioned or do you provide a transcript? Are there a variety of perspectives presented in your course materials? Consider sources that can offer clarity or provide new insights for students.
  5. Evaluate Student Performance. Were there specific assignments or activities where students struggled or achieved lower than expected results? Consider what modifications can improve their experience and understanding of your topics.


Take action towards improvement: 

  1. Update Course Content. Edit or replace materials that may reflect poorer quality or less than current information. Address course content issues before you leave for summer while they are still fresh in your mind. This will reduce your stress load when you return for the fall semester.
  2. Enhance Engagement. Revitalize your learning activities and assessments with something new or interactive that will stimulate engagement. Integrate more interactive elements, exploring technology that can support students’ collaboration, such as peer teaching or group problem solving. Use more authentic assessments to engage students’ creativity and interest in the materials.
  3. Diversify Assessment Methods. Utilize a variety of quiz types, projects or presentations that cater to different learner preferences and abilities. Consider the balance between formative and summative assessments and plan ways to provide timely and meaningful feedback.
  4. Take advantage of Professional Development. Take time to explore available resources through CAFE, ID&D and other offices on campus, including teaching and pedagogy articles and the ID&D Knowledgebase with how-to articles for MyClasses and other instructional software. Attend professional development opportunities facilitated by SU units or through our partnerships with NCFDD and ACUE. Are there tools and features in MyClasses that you would like to explore to help reduce your workload? Upskill your own abilities, consider training opportunities that support development or enhancement of pedagogical or technological knowledge.
  5. Consult your Instructional Designer! As the subject matter expert, please feel free to brainstorm with your designated Instructional Designer about pedagogical strategies and tools you can use to help bring your redesign visions to life!