Purple painted lightbulbs on a green background, wil one green

Building a reflective teaching practice

Reflective faculty dedicate time to evaluate their teaching practice.  From the structure of the course to the classroom community — it is helpful to reflect on how your specific teaching decisions impact students’ learning. As you analyze your teaching, consider how you might approach particular tasks or challenge, or an activity that you didn’t find as successful,  in the future.

As you consider whether or not it is time for a review, think about:

  • Design of instruction: Have you clearly defined the learning goals you have for your course? Do the assessments in your course map to the goals you have for the course or program learning outcomes? Do the activities you facilitate (lectures, discussions, readings) create experiences for students to reach those goals?
  • Course management: Did your schedule of readings, activities, and assignments work well? For instance, do all of your assignments fall at the same time, or are they evenly spaced out? How do you organize assignment deadlines and manage timely grading and/or feedback?
  • Knowledge of subject matter: Is there new scholarship in your field that you would like to explore and perhaps address in future iterations of your course?
  • Teacher–Student interactions: What are the different ways you interact with students? Are you “the sage on the stage,” a facilitator of learning, or something else? How do you make yourself available to students during outside of class during office hours and via email?


Planning a re-design?

There are so many reasons why you may be looking to spruce up your course!  Let’s look at some reasons you may want a refresh:

  1. You have found new learning materials or tools you would like to explore
  2. You feel like the learning content and activities you provided last time you taught the class didn’t quite yield the results you were hoping
  3. You would like to explore different strategies to engage students in participation, group work, discussions, etc.
  4. You would like to explore ways or tools to differentiate your instruction
  5. You may have collected too many resources in an online course, and feel like you need to trim down and re-assess what students need to be successful
  6. Your discipline has made advances, or there is newer/more current research that you would like to incorporate
  7. You would like to incorporate a specific teaching strategy into your course design
  8. You would like to get a head-start on making your inaccessible content more accessible
  9. Maybe you just feel like it is time to change and/or innovate!

How CTL can help

When you feel like you need a need to re-tool your content or even a whole course, it can feel daunting and sometimes overwhelming.  That is where your friendly IDs at CTL can step in and help you assess your specific concerns, brainstorm teaching strategies or tools to meet your educational objectives–or sometimes to be a soundboard to help you process!


Thinking about  what makes great teaching

The short video below outlines some measures of great college teaching, informed by Ken Bain’s “The Best College Teachers” (we have the author’s “What the Best College Teachers Do” in the CTL lending Library):


Some things to consider

The resources linked below will allow you to explore and define your desired outcomes for a course redesign (with a great resource from UWaterloo) and will allow you to explore UMPI’s Course Assessment rubric to align your course design and current practices with UMPI norms and expectations on your own timeline (it will even email you the results of your self-assessment).

Considerations when planning a redesignUMPI's Course Assessment Tool for self-assessment