Q: What is the relationship between instruction and objectives?
A: Instruction represents the plan in place to address the course objectives. It includes the selection and coverage of course content, strategies used to teach the material, and activities for students to practice and apply what is learned. Mastery of the objectives should be the compass that guides all instructional decisions. When students see a connection between classroom experiences and the course objectives, student awareness of the objectives is enhanced.
Q: How can we share effective instructional strategies and activities with all faculty members?
A: (1) In some departments those who teach a particular course meet periodically to share teaching strategies and activities. (2) Some departments list suggested activities on each course outline. This may be helpful to new faculty or adjuncts who are assigned to teach a course for the first time. (3) Some colleges offer workshops where faculty are encouraged to present and share methods that work. (4) Faculty could be encouraged to attend periodic professional development seminars held on campus. (5) Mentors assigned to new faculty and/or adjuncts may provide suggestions and training with respect to methodology.
Q: Why is it important to examine the activities that are assigned to students throughout the program?
A: The activities provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they have learned. In order to determine what students can do, they have to be given experiences where they apply what they are learning. The instructor must then assess the students' performance on the activities and provide feedback.
Q: How can we make sure that learning becomes more sophisticated as students progress through our program?
A: Some departments list the skills on paper that students acquire course-by-course throughout the program (student learning outcomes). Displayed in this fashion, it becomes easy to examine the sequencing of skills in order to determine if the outcomes expected in advanced courses constitute a significant improvement over the outcomes expected in introductory courses.