How much reading is appropriate per 1 hour of class each week?
2 to 3 hours studying outside of class for each hour of
Consider the time involved not the number of pages….the difficulty level
of readings vary
If possible choose readings that capture students’ interest
Readings should relate to the class and vice versa
Integrate information from the readings into the class; do not repeat the
information from the reading in class
When are practices/exercises most needed?
To help students move to higher levels of learning
Appreciate and evaluate different points of view
Understand the process of making judgments
Students learn best by doing, writing, discussing, or taking action,
because active learning situations provide opportunities for students to
test out what they have learned and how thoroughly they understand it
After class…demonstrate technique in class, student practices in class,
student performs individually
Before class…students tackle problems individually, discuss with other
students, then attend class where problems are discussed
What are the characteristics of a good exercise?
Address a learning objective
A necessary and integral part of the course
Engage the learner in active learning
Relate to the "real world"
Present an opportunity to integrate previous knowledge
Relevant to student’s interest (if possible)
Clearly assigned with clear instructions for their completion
Definite and limited in scope
Used or assessed soon after completed
If a group exercise, membership should be determined carefully and
If using a case study, focus on an important dilemma or issue, create
enough detail for students to comprehend the case, and choose a situation
about which there is room for debate
Provide clues for problem-solving
Vary the types of exercises
How do you go about developing exercises?
Ideas from journals, textbooks, casebooks, other faculty, and student
Try out ideas on a small scale first
Know the capabilities of your students
Set high expectations….and help students achieve them
Do the exercises yourself
Rules of thumb on length of exercise.
Ask students how long the homework is taking
Limit exercises in length….set a definite time limit for completion
Time yourself in doing the exercises and consider the expertise of the
What are the pros and cons of grading exercises?
How you grade depends on your values, assumptions, and educational
philosophy….there are no hard and fast rules
Learner can evaluate work when given criteria….group members can evaluate
group work….a second opportunity to learn
Emphasize mastery and learning rather than grades
Avoid grades as threats
Let students turn in their work for preliminary correction before handing
it in for a grade
Avoid grading systems that put students in competition
Return first graded exercise or test before the add/drop deadline
Coordinate exercises with lecture topics
Distribute work load evenly throughout the term
Make first exercise a review
Choose problems selectively….a mix of routine and more challenging
Ask students to describe how they solved their problems
Divide homework into hand-in and "also-do" problems, using the "also-do"
problems on exams
Faust, J. L., & Paulson, D. R. (1998). Active learning in the college
classroom. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 9 (2), 3-24. URL:
http://ject.lib.muohio.edu/articles/pdf-to-pdf.php?article=165. (No longer
available without subscription.)
Office of Faculty and TA Development (2001). Teaching at The Ohio State
University: A Handbook, The Ohio State University. URL:
The Teacher's Round Table and Office of Faculty and TA Development
(1994). Instructors' Template for Preparing Guidelines to Help Students
Succeed in Your Courses. The Ohio State University, URL:
Davies, I.K. (1981). Instructional Technique, McGraw-Hill Book Company,
New York, 1981.
Davis, B.G. (2001). Tools for Teaching, Jossey-Bass Publications, San
McKeachie, W.J. (1999). Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory
for College and University Teachers, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.
Olsen, J., & Trichopoulos, D. (1992). Teaching Epidemiology: What you
should know and what you could do, Oxford Medical Publications, New York.
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