Online Course Design Pitfall #4: Expect Your Students to Consume Knowledge Rather Than Create It

This pitfall stood out to me, as it seemed it would be an easy trap to fall into while redesigning the course I teach. Many of the resources previously developed for the Special Animal Med course are geared toward a course format where the instructor feeds the class information, the students consume the knowledge, and then the students confirm that the knowledge was assimilated by reproducing it for a test. While hopefully this transfer of knowledge has been delivered in an interesting and thoughtful way, it has been passive rather than actively engaging the students.

I hope to avoid this pitfall by purposefully redesigning the course materials to actively engage the students. Much of what they will do “in the real world” when they encounter these unusual species in the clinic will be gathering and applying their own resources to clinical case. My goal is to incorporate exercises where the students “create knowledge” by gathering information and synthesizing it into a format for sharing with their peers or potentially the pet-owning public. For example, the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine hosts an event called “Pet Day” which is open to the public. I would love to see the class create several interactive stations or exhibits that could educate and inspire Pet Day attendees on topics like comparing sources of dietary vitamin C for guinea pigs or how to create an ideal habitat for your rat.

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2 Responses to Online Course Design Pitfall #4: Expect Your Students to Consume Knowledge Rather Than Create It

  1. Raven Chakerian says:

    I love your idea of incorporating Pet Day into your project! That is a great way to get students thinking about how they can apply the knowledge they are learning in class to the world beyond the classroom. I love practical real-world applications like this. I will have to think how we might find some real world applications for our Spanish class!

  2. gallaghc says:

    Yes! I think the application of ideas or critical thinking outside the classroom followed up by assessment or ‘measurable success’ — motivates students and compels them to keep working or digging at an idea.

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