Author: Kristina Wilson

Nine Week Assessment Alternatives

At Northwestern, our 10 week terms are already fast-paced. So what happens when the term is shortened by a week, and you have only nine weeks to accomplish your goals as an instructor? How do you decide which content to combine, alter, or even remove? This short guide will outline a few strategies you can consider to modify your course activities, assessment, and content to meet students’ needs within a constrained timeframe. Download a copy of the Nine Week Assessment Alternatives tip sheet. Pre-Work, Examples, and Best Practices What is pre-work? Pre-work is exactly what you think it is. It


5 Ways to Group Adult Students for Teamwork Online

Introduction In the School of Professional Studies (SPS), group projects are our bread and butter. That means team case studies, small group discussions, peer review, and other collaborative assignments. One question I’ve heard faculty members frequently ask their peers in course presentations is, “How do you group your students?” Everyone has a technique for doing it differently, based on any number of factors. How many students are in your class? How many students should be in each group? What if you have students “left over”? Should I group them with teammates they know? Teammates they don’t know? Teammates they choose?


Building Up to Big Assignments and Complex Tasks: Making the Case for Assignment Scaffolding

Introduction Do some topics or skills seem too large to approach in your course? Are your students struggling with time management? Do you want to provide students with thorough, meaningful feedback but find it difficult to keep up with all the grading? Do you want your students to learn more effectively? Assignment scaffolding could be the answer. Source: Pixabay What is assignment scaffolding and why is it important? Simply put, assignment scaffolding helps break down large ideas or tasks into smaller steps that build on each other. Consider the analogy at the root of the term. Scaffolding, like the multi-level,


A Few Big Changes, Lots of Little Ones: Updates to the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric

Introduction In the summer of 2018, Quality Matters (QM) released the Sixth Edition of the Higher Education Rubric along with a Rubric Update course to help reviewers brush up on the changes. For the Distance Learning team in the School of Professional Studies, that’s a big deal. We use the QM rubric, a research-based set of standards for quality in online courses, to guide the design of new classes and help revise existing ones. At the end of each development cycle, all courses are reviewed by peer Learning Designers on our team as a way to provide feedback and ensure


What Should I Do With My Slides Now That I’m Teaching Online?

Introduction If you’ve taught face-to-face before, there’s a good chance you’ve developed slides to help give lectures in your classroom. You may even have structured your course around them: ten slide decks for ten weeks of class. There’s no shame there–keynote speakers and conference presenters use slides as an important part of their practice, and when properly designed they can make for engaging in-person presentations. Now you’re designing an online or hybrid class, and you’ve got your slides in hand. These worked great in my face-to-face class, you’re thinking. I’ll just put them online for students to read. But wait!