What do you do when your students come to class unprepared to work? How much valuable class time do you spend covering what they didn’t do or don’t know?
Holding students accountable for assigned work is an important strategy in student-centered learning. When students prepare for class, in-class lecture segments will be more meaningful and relevant, and class time can be used for work on the following kinds of activities:
- problem-solving or case-studies
- collaboration with peers and team members
- development of short- and long-term projects
- applying reading strategies to difficult texts
- application of concepts
- synthesis of content into new ideas and purposes
- individual help from the instructor
Preparation and accountability are part of building responsible academic and professional work habits, and frequent assessment can help students establish such productive habits. Ask yourself, What goes on during class to motivate my students to prepare, and what could I do to motivate students to prepare before class?
An “accountability process” to structure student learning
Accountability assessments can help instructors learn how closely students have engaged with materials, indicate comprehension of key concepts, and show what students missed, find confusing, and/or valuable about materials assigned. A cycle of assignment design and assessment, pre-class work, self-assessment, accountability assessment, and in-class participation contribute to student productivity and help establish a sense of responsibility and competency in the student. Frequent, low-stakes assessments help students learn new material, review previous material.
CATs and pre-CATs
Instructors can integrate such assessments into the course as routine activities. Instructors can motivate preparation with in-class assessments, known as Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) and with before-class assessments, which we might call “pre-CATs”. Instructors can use pre-CATS and CATs with or without technology tools. Some technologies for assessment include:
- TopHat, a classroom polling tool
- Canvas Quizzes and Discussions
- Canvas-integrated tools such as VoiceThread and QuickCheck
Instructional technologies such as these can help assess comprehension before class, in time to adjust in-class activities accordingly.
Find out more about modifying your materials to hold students accountable and encourage in-class participation. Then save your class time for the kind of meaningful work that helps students develop the skills and thinking methods of your discipline.
The CITL encourages you to share this information with your friends and colleagues. Are you interested in learning more about accountability and engagement? Check out upcoming related events:
- Holding Students Accountable for Pre-class Work, CITL Workshop, 01/23/18
- “But They Don’t Do the Reading” – Helping Students Read Productively for Your Course, CITL Workshop, 01/30/18
- Teaching with Technology Facult Showcase: Engaging Students with VoiceThread. CISTL Live Webinar, 02/21/18 with Dr. Marshella Harris and Will Radell