Requesting, Receiving & Responding to Student Feedback

Kiri WagstaffDr. Kiri L. Wagstaff is an Associate Research Professor at OSU in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a Principal Researcher in machine learning at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

What is the best way to solicit, analyze, and act on feedback from students about your course?  Kenton Hokanson, a microbiology instructor, and Lyn Riverstone, an academic technology expert, shared ideas with us about timing, content, and interpretation of student feedback.

Right now is an excellent time to consider asking your students for mid-course feedback.  Unlike the end-of-term student evaluations (eSET), feedback obtained at this point has the opportunity to be acted upon within the current term.  Invite students to help make it “their” course.  You can find out which assignments were the most difficult, why students aren’t doing the reading, and what obstacles they’re facing but otherwise would not volunteer to share.  You’ll then have the opportunity to fine-tune the course and show students that you value their input and experience highly enough to take action.  CTL provides an excellent 3-page document that is rich with ideas to get you started:

Inviting feedback can allow you take the temperature of your students and identify hotspots within the course.  But feedback isn’t just about the negative; you can also ask about what’s working well.  I enjoy asking students to share one thing they’ve learned or a skill they’ve gained since starting the class.  Asking for student preferences for the midterm exam review format may surprise you!  The process also does not have to be time consuming (Davis, 1993).  Consider asking for the single “muddiest” point covered so far, or within a single class meeting.  Try soliciting “start/stop/continue” feedback: what should I start doing?  What should I stop doing?  And what should I keep doing to help with your success in the class?

You can collect this feedback with anonymous surveys or in-class polls (Wong, 2020).  Midcourse feedback can also come from peers in the form of a “supportive observation” (invite a fellow instructor to sit in and watch for specific aspects you want feedback on) or a Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID) in which you leave the (Zoom) room and another instructor solicits individual feedback in a live conversation, then invites the rest of the class to vote on which comments resonate for them as well.  I was intrigued to learn that CTL offers both peer services; find out more here:

Positive feedback can send you sky-high, while negative comments may feel burned into your brain.  It’s helpful to look for themes rather than outliers in either direction.  One option is to ask a trusted friend or colleague who is not involved in the class to read through the feedback and summarize it for you from their more objective viewpoint.  Excel spreadsheets are one tool to help aggregate quantitative responses and also to look for subpopulations who may be struggling for common reasons.  A good question to help prioritize individual comments is “Can I do anything about this?”  Often, the answer is yes, but some things are beyond your control.  Let them go.

Once you’ve digested the feedback you’ve received, it’s time to take action.  Responsive teaching includes adapting the course based on what you’ve learned from the feedback.  Take the time to formulate a plan for what you can change and how you will communicate it to the students.  It is not necessary to address every comment, but common themes or problem points are worth careful consideration.  Is there a Canvas component that isn’t working well?  Are students missing your announcements?  Are they hungry for more interaction during class time, and/or asynchronously?  Adapting the course, and telling the students why you’ve done so, can increase their motivation, build a stronger relationship from you to them, create a positive classroom environment, and even increase the end-of-term eSET scores (McGowan & Osguthorpe, 2011).

The power is yours to decide what questions to ask and what feedback would be most helpful to you right now.  Take a moment to think: What’s one question that would help me prioritize content for the next class meeting?  Go ahead and ask it today!


Davis, Barbara G. (1993) “Fast Feedback,” Tools for Teaching, Chapter 41, 345-354.

McGowan, Whitney R. and Osguthorpe, Russell T. (2011) “Student and Faculty Perceptions of Effects of Midcourse Evaluation,” To Improve the Academy, 29(1):160-172.

McKeachie, Wilbert J. and Svinicki, Marilla (2006) McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers.

Wong, Crystal O. (2020) “Three Ways to Use Student Feedback to Improve Your Course,”

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Teflon to Velcro: Making Content Stick

Phil Mann is an instructor teaching Art + Design concentration classes within the Renewable Materials degree program in the Wood Science and Engineering Department.


The Tuesday Teaching + Tech Talks session with Dr. Howes entitled From Teflon to Velcro: Making Content Stick centered around applying Chip and Dan Heath’s approach from their 2008 book Made to Stick, for creating lasting or “sticky” ideas to education. The Heaths outline 6 principles in their approach, represented in the acronym S.U.C.C.E.S.(s) standing for Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories. The approach stresses simplified messaging around ideas, and “violating schemas” or cultural and behavioral norms to generate curiosity in the audience. (Howes) According to the principles, ideas should use sensory language to make the idea concrete, and should be supported by external authorities or relatable statistics and details to lend them credibility.  In addition, ideas should be supported by emotional appeals and efforts to link ideas with self-interest and identity, and employ stories that serve both to inspire one to action and offer a pattern for that action. (Heath)

The SUCCES approach shares a great deal with tried and true processes for communication which many educators and others have used for generations. That said, it can be useful to see familiar concepts reframed and recontextualized, so it was helpful to me to compare the SUCCES method to my own approach to communicating ideas, as well as the ideas themselves.  As a teacher and practitioner of art and design, communication is at the heart of what I do and teach, so it is not surprising that the Heaths’ model resonates with me. After all effective art and design is often simple, rule-breaking, and by definition grounded in the sensory world. Furthermore, the best examples generate emotional responses in the viewer and they often serve as manifestations of the stories of the artist and the broader culture that they find themselves in, so it was not difficult to see how this model could be used to sharpen one’s approach to effectively communicating ideas.

My own thinking about my teaching has undergone a bit of a transformation lately after having read that the world of education has taken up the “design thinking” principles advocated by organizations like IDEO ( and the Stanford d. School (  While I teach this design methodology in my curriculum, I had not consciously made the connection between the subject matter and the delivery method. While I know the techniques that I had been employing in the classroom were certainly influenced by my training and experiences as an artist and designer, it wasn’t until recently that I had the time and space to reflect on my teaching and finally complete the loop. Armed with that realization I hope to reevaluate my teaching going forward and incorporate techniques like the creation of  the “curiosity gaps” that Dr. Howes discussed in her presentation. These gaps are generated through the use of unconventional or unexpected concepts (the U in SUCCES) that hold the audience’s attention by generating an intellectual need or “cliffhanger.” (Howes) Given the ever increasing demands for our attention in our everyday lives, techniques such as this that generate opportunities for engagement in the classroom will be critical to helping students retain important content.

Heath, Chip and Heath, Dan. 2008. pdf file.

Howes, Sartoris. From Teflon to Velcro Making Content Stick. Oregon State University, 29 September 2020. Recorded lecture.

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Transparency in Learning and Teaching: Begin with SMARTE and SMARTER Student Learning Objectives

In my work as an instructional consultant in CTL, I often discuss with faculty how to adjust the wording of course student learning objectives (SLOs) to exemplify measurable SLOs. This served as the initial impetus for creating an infographic to disseminate best practices for constructing student-centered and action-oriented SLOs. However, there is a lot more to the concept of developing student learning objectives than the need to comply with the administrative constraint to use a verb that describes an observable action (Dobbins, et al., 2016; Mitchell & Manzo, 2018).

SLOs are statements that describe what students will be able to do to demonstrate their learning (Maher, 2004). They signify the expectation of a change in students as a result of a learning experience. For this reason, taking the time to construct well-written and measurable SLOs is only valuable to the extent that the specified objectives serve as the foundation for assessing students’ learning and as a guide for structuring concomitant learning activities aimed at facilitating student success. Purposeful alignment of assessment, learning activities and assignments with SLOs provides internal structure, transparency and coherence to a course.

Well-written SLOs are not just appended to a course syllabus in order to fulfil an administrative requirement. Rather, they serve as a gateway through which students gain knowledge about how the parts of a course relate to each other, and fit together to give them a cohesive learning experience. Therefore, the greater purpose of this infographic is to underscore the need to make SLOs thrive as the solid base for making learning and teaching transparent in course design. To do this, I present the following approaches:

  • SLOs must be written in measurable and action-oriented terms to shape assessment and learning activities.
  • Measurable SLOs consist of a verb and the condition of learning, both of which are enshrined in the cognitive process dimension and knowledge dimension of the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2002).
  • Developing a course map or SLOs Alignment Table reinforces the application of the principles of backward design (Wiggins &McTighe, 2005). A course map serves two purposes. First, it focuses the instructor on meeting expected SLOs. Second, it makes the alignment of SLOs, assessment and learning activities transparent and evident to students. Merely listing SLOs on a syllabus may not have the same effect (Caruana, 2015).
  • Conventionally, SLOs are presented using a linear format. Using a flowchart to represent foundational, mediating and end-of-course SLOs will orient students to how their learning experiences interconnect and build on each other (Nilson & Goodson, 2018).

The terms student learning objectives and student learning outcomes are often used interchangeably leading to the frequently-asked question: What is the difference between the two terms? Student learning objectives describe what students are expected to learn (Krathwohl, 2002). Learning outcomes exemplify what is achieved or assessed in a course (Harden, 2002). These seemingly different definitions suggest that objectives focus on aspirations for student learning while outcomes point to the essential knowledge and skills that will be achieved and assessed. In the context of transparency of learning and teaching and the attendant need for the alignment of assessment and learning activities with SLOs, learning objectives function the same way as learning outcomes.


Caruna, V. (2015). How a Course Map Puts You on Track for Better Learning Outcomes. Faculty Focus.

Dobbins, K., Brooks, S., Scott, J. J. A., Rawlinson, M., & Norman, R. I. (2016). Understanding and enacting learning outcomes: The academic perspective. Studies in Higher Education, 41(7), 1217-1233.

Harden, R. M. (2002). Learning outcomes and instructional objectives: Is there a difference? Medical Teacher, 24(2), 151-155.

Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy: An overview. Theory into Practice, 41(4), 212-218.

Maher, A. (2004). Learning outcomes in higher education: Implications for curriculum design and student learning. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education, 3(2), 46-54.

Mitchell, M. W., & Manzo, W. R. (2018). The purpose and perception of learning objectives. Journal of Political Science Education, 14(4), 456-472.

Nilson, L. B., & Goodson, L. A. (2018). Online teaching at its best: Merging instructional design with teaching and learning research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Join me for a lively discussion of Transparent SLOs on October 16 from 12:00-12-45 pm. Information about sparkshops is available here.

Funmi Amobi is an instructional consultant in the Center for Teaching and Learning. She provides pedagogical support to faculty through 1:1 consultations, mini workshops (Sparkshops) on teaching-related topics, dissemination of infographics on evidence-based instructional practices, and co-facilitation of faculty learning communities.



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Congratulations CTL – 15th Year Anniversary: A Reflection of OSU’s Center for Teaching & Learning


The Center for Teaching and Learning has been around for longer than you may guess. While you cannot stroll into our suite on the top floor of LiNC due to the pandemic, you can avail yourself of the many core offerings online ( and follow us on Twitter (@OSUteaching). Wondered how it all began?

In fall 2005, OSU’s President Edward J. Ray, and the Faculty Senate established the Center for Teaching and Learning with Peter Saunders as Director.

The center’s physical offices were located in Waldo Hall, a former women’s dormitory. Folklore tells of a ghostly figure of a woman believed to be OSU’s first librarian, Ida Kidder who appears in the upper window.

Director Saunders’ vision for the center was to have a physical space where faculty could try new teaching techniques and share their experiences. With that goal, the center was given a development space where a learning environment to support group and collaborative learning was created in 2006. Milam 215 became the Teaching Academy, and offered the Summer Institute: Developing a Living Course, an intensive, five-day development workshop for instructors who wanted to improve student engagement, success and retention through course redesign. Saunders asserted it was the “most innovative faculty development space in America … Faculty liked the space and attendance was exceptional … the key was to show the new/younger faculty that the administration was serious about teaching and supporting faculty.”

Saunders’ Teaching Academy in Milam 215 was incredible. He contracted and obtained donations from multiple companies that provided him with cutting-edge technologies (considered such in 2006) in smartboards, computers, and laptops. The furniture was modern and ergonomically designed and included couches, ottomans, cushioned chairs with moveable desktops, tall tables and chairs made specifically for individual laptop use. The auxiliary room in Milam 215 was a breakout room with its smartboards and furnishings.

In ensuing years, CTL collaborated with OSU Faculty Senate’s Advancement of Teaching Committee to facilitate the LL Stewart Faculty Development Fund, which allowed faculty to receive funds to complete projects relating to teaching in their departments.

From 2005 to 2009, the Office of Academic Affairs & International Programs and the Center for Teaching and Learning initiated the Teaching & Learning Innovation Grant to support faculty and instructors in their innovative teaching and learning projects and scholarship. The goal of this grant was to recognize and reward teaching excellence and encourage instructors to engage in the creation of innovative learning experiences for their students  and scholarship focused on teaching and learning.

With the retirement of Director Saunders in 2010, and after a failed search for a new director, Associate Vice-Provost, Susie Brubaker-Cole became the new Interim Director. New pilot initiatives were implemented such as Service Learning Faculty Development; Co-Curriculum, focusing on professional faculty who work with students outside the classroom; the Global Learning Initiative; and the Hybrid Course Initiative.

The Hybrid Course Initiative, coordinated by Cub Kahn, began in 2011 and has been instrumental in the growth of blended learning at OSU, as the number of official hybrid courses has increased from the first two in 2012 to 726 today. As part of this initiative, CTL has funded 135 faculty members to participate in term-long Hybrid Faculty Learning Communities and redesign on-campus courses as hybrids.

In the summer of 2012, Kay Sagmiller became the center’s second Director. She formulated “Six Principles” as goals for teaching, comprising “Consider the Audience, Plan, Enhance Engagement, Teach, Assess, and Reflect,” and implemented highly popular quarterly symposia that offered workshops/lectures. Topics were wide-ranging from sustainability, transformative learning, and celebrating teachers’ excellence. At times selections of over 15 sessions were available. Additional faculty learning communities offered included: Building Cultures of Inquiry; Facilitating FLCs; Transformative Curriculum; Teaching Triads; and fireside chats.

In 2015, CTL hired Brooke Howland, current Associate Director, who designed CTL flagship programs. Now in its fifth year, the Tuesday Teaching + Tech Talks (T4), supports the development of knowledge and skills in the planning of curriculum, facilitation of instruction, assessment of learning, and use of educational technology.

The CTL has a strong record of working across departmental lines and fostering collaborations as seen in the diverse offerings of the T4 program. Similarly, in 2016-2017, Director Sagmiller co-chaired the Academic Development Committee for the Marine Studies Initiative whose overarching educational goal was to “provide a transformational educational experience centered on marine studies.”

Based on a year-long successful pilot of New2OSU in 2018, CTL officially launched this program created by Assoc. Director Howland in 2019. In 2020, the New2OSU program is revised and gamified with badges while the intent of the program remains the same, to impact student success by accelerating the effectiveness of newer faculty. Participants develop the knowledge and skills necessary to build inclusive, interactive, and instructionally sound learning environments to promote student engagement, retainment, and deeper levels of learning.

The CTL has now increased its offerings and offers resources in eight core areas (e.g., course design, assessment, inclusive teaching). It also provides many different ways for OSU to engage with pedagogy. New staff member Funmi Amobi (Instructional Designer, College Liaison), developed Sparkshops. These new 45-minute mini workshops are evidence-based teaching practices. They can be delivered to groups of instructors during informal gatherings or departmental meetings.

CTL also welcomed new staff: Inclusive Excellence Coordinator, Ann Sitomer; the center’s Faculty Fellow, Demian Hommel; and Peer Teaching Resource Coordinator, Cheridy Aduviri.

Currently, the CTL is served by Regan A.R. Gurung, the Interim Executive Director who joined in 2019, and who advances the CTL vision “to support effective and efficient teaching and create and sustain a culture of teaching excellence.”

The Center for Teaching and Learning has met many challenges. However, its vision and ultimate goal to provide all teachers with tools that can enhance their teaching and have an impact on student learning has remained.

It is with excitement that we recognize the Center for Teaching and Learning’s 15 years of service and applaud OSU faculty for their commitment to student success.

See CTL’s timeline.

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Join the Fall Conversation on Blended Learning!

Women's Building OSUWondering how to engage students in blended courses, now or in the future?

Academic Technology and CTL invite instructors and tenured/tenure-track faculty who teach Corvallis and Cascades campus courses to join a small, cross-disciplinary faculty cohort and explore blended learning and ed tech during Fall term. The group will have lively, interactive meetings twice a month via Zoom.

This is a great opportunity to learn from your peers as well as CTL and Academic Technology staff in a supportive environment. As Lyn Riverstone, one of the co-facilitators noted about a similar learning community she led last Spring, it “provided a comfortable place share, ask for ideas, complain, or whatever we needed” at a challenging time.

It’s no secret that upping your skills at teaching in a blended format will benefit your teaching and your students in remote and on-campus teaching modalities as well.

Professional development funding is provided! See the Call for Proposals.

Brief proposals (5 min.) are due Wed., Sep. 23. Space is limited; apply now.

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New Guides to Blended and Remote Teaching

OSU Memorial UnionJust in time for a Fall term in which most Corvallis and Cascades courses will be offered in either remote or blended formats, two new Center for Teaching and Learning tutorials walk you through the design and teaching of courses in these challenging modalities.

Successful Blended and Remote Course Design, Part One and Part Two, are eight-minute videos that provide evidence-based strategies, resources and tips for creating blended and remote courses that will foster student success in your Fall ’20 courses. These tutorials cover a range of topics such as deciding how to blend asynchronous and synchronous learning activities, aligning course elements with learning outcomes, using formative assessment and establishing instructor presence outside the physical classroom.

These tutorials reinforce the concepts introduced in Remote Teaching = A New Kind of Blended Learning and Remote Teaching = Blended Learning: Part 2

If you’re just getting around to building a Fall course site in Canvas, streamline your work by using the OSU Remote and Blended Teaching Canvas Template.

See the CTL website for a full array of resources and services to support your Fall teaching!


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Implementing and Assessing Collaborative Group Work

The term group work is most often associated with any form of learning activity where students work together. However, there are two approaches to group work. Cooperative learning is an instructional activity that involves students working together in ad hoc groups within a class period to achieve a learning goal (Major, 2015). Examples include the classic Think-Pair-Share, jigsaw, fishbowl and various in-class small group activities. In collaborative group work, students work together on a multifaceted project for an extended period of time. The task is too complex for one person to complete, so students work together in small groups to create new knowledge and by so doing contribute to each other’s learning.

The benefits of collaborative group work are well documented (Budhai, 2019; Freeman et al. 2014; Hodges, 2017). Yet, students and instructors tend to resist long-term group work. The resistance seems to hinge on a common conundrum. Students, especially the highly-motivated ones, are not happy about sharing a common grade with team members who may not pull their own weight in accomplishing the group task (Allan, 2016). Meanwhile, instructors are confronted with the question of how to grade group work equitably given the free riding problem (Anson & Goodman, 2014; Brooks & Ammons; Huang, 2018). This common concern is surmountable, and these two infographics show how.

In the first one, I provide a framework for planning and implementing a successful collaborative group work experience for students. Here, the structure of group work subsumes seven key components. Each component is illustrated with related workable strategies. The second infographic focuses on how to grade group work fairly and equitably using the principles of positive interdependence and individual accountability (Johnson, Johnson & Smith, 2014). In this format, the instructor uses a mechanism that includes a common grade and an individual score. The instructor assesses group product, but individual grade is predicated on confidential self and peer-evaluations of each member’s contributions to the project.

The goal of collaborative group work is not just to produce a product. Rather, the higher purpose is to inculcate in students pertinent teamwork, communication, leadership, problem solving and critical thinking skills which are highly regarded in the workplace. Therefore, constant monitoring and assessment of group process matter. Implementing and assessing collaborative group work may place planning, coordination and time costs on instructors and students, but the eventual benefit capital outweighs the costs.


Allan, E. G. (2016). “I hate group work!” Addressing students’ concerns about small-group learning. Insight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 11, 81-89.

Anson, R., & Goodman, A. J. (2014). A peer assessment system to improve student team experiences. Journal of Education for Business, 89, 27-34.

Brooks, C. M. & Ammons, J. L. (2010). Free riding in group projects and the effects of timing, frequency, and specificity of criteria in peer assessments. Journal of Education for Business, 78(5), 268-272.

Budhai, S. S. (2019). Designing effective team projects in online courses.

Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., &Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America, 111(23), 8410–8415.

Huang, L. (2018). Students riding on the coattails during group work? Five simple ideas to try.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K. A. (2014). Cooperative learning: Improving university instruction by basing practice on validated theory. Journal of Excellence in College Teaching, 25(3&4), 85-118.

Major, C. (2015). Choosing the best approach for small group work

Funmi Amobi is an instructional consultant in the Center for Teaching and Learning. She provides pedagogical support to faculty through 1:1 consultations, mini workshops (Sparkshops) on teaching-related topics, dissemination of infographics on evidence-based instructional practices and co-facilitation of faculty learning communities.

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CTL is excited to announce our fully remote New2OSU program!

New2OSU impacts student success by accelerating the effectiveness of those who are newer to teaching and/or OSU. Completion of the program may be used as evidence of professional development and teaching effectiveness. Participants are asked to commit to a three-term intensive program requiring (on average) 3 hours per week.

New2OSU has recently been overhauled to offer you a fully remote, gamified experience including microcredentials (digital Badges) through Badgr. By exemplifying the strategies we teach and offering customizable learning pathways, New2OSU can support you no matter where you are located or what modality you’re teaching in.

By the end of the program participants will have developed the knowledge and skills necessary to build supportive, inclusive, interactive, and instructionally sound learning environments. Through readings, videos, workshops, mentoring, teaching observations, discussions, reflection, and challenging learning tasks, participants learn about and demonstrate effective teaching practices.

CTL only accepts 20 applicants per term on a first-come, first-serve basis. As we reach capacity, we will be happy to reserve your name on our waitlist for our Winter cohort. New2OSU launches this fall on Monday, September 21 with the start of Week Zero.

Spots fill up quickly. REGISTER NOW!

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Extended Deadline: Apply by Sep. 15 for Blended Learning Community

fernsSummer is slipping away, but there’s still time to apply for the Fall ’20 Blended Faculty Learning Community.

You’re invited to join this faculty learning community to explore educational technology and blended learning. Academic Technology and CTL invite all instructors and tenured/tenure-track faculty who teach credit-based Corvallis and Cascades campus courses to apply.

Instructors with limited comfort or experience using blended teaching approaches or ed tech are particularly encouraged to apply.

Professional development funding is provided. Space is limited, so see the Call for Proposals for the streamlined proposal process and apply now!

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A Framework for Engaging Students in Synchronous Class Sessions: Interactive Lecture

A Framework for Engaging Students in Synchronous Class Sessions: Interactive Lecture

There is a plethora of strategies and activities for engaging students in the remote learning modality (Amobi 2020, Chick, Friberg & Bessette 2020; Martin & Bollinger, 2018). In a national survey of faculty during the spring COVID-19 pivot, 63% of participants identified student engagement as a major challenge in the transition to remote teaching. In addition, 74% of the same population affirmed that student engagement would be a major instructional priority in fall 2020. How will faculty deliver on this important pedagogical goal? Here is an example.

In this infographic, I present a comprehensive model for planning and implementing a synchronous class session instead of just focusing on engagement activities per se. Interactive lecture is a framework for teaching that combines engaging, focused presentations with active learning activities to promote student learning (Major, 2018; Milner, Kotlicki & Andrzej 2007). It has been used to great advantage in in-person classes, and is applicable to engaging students in synchronous class sessions on Zoom as well.

The framework is organized around three major components that should be included in class planning: Pre-planning, Process, and Close.

Pre-planning focuses on the need to develop the mindset and a workable action plan for making the classroom an inclusive learning environment for all students. It also emphasizes the importance of articulating the purpose of the learning before class begins. Students will be different in the fall. Given the times of trauma and upheaval that we are living through, it is more urgent than ever for instructors to elucidate the purpose and rationale of the learning material.

Process represents the body of the synchronous session. It begins with an emphasis on establishing instructor-learner interaction with students as soon as they begin to log in to the class. Gooblar (2020) reiterates the need to establish mutual trust with students. In other words, make the classroom an inviting and a safe place for students as they are arriving in class. Once class begins, focus of capturing students’ attention and centering it on the learning.

Next, build on the strong beginning with a clear, focused presentation of a chunk of content. A ballistic continuous exposition delivery method will only sap out the engagement momentum (Bruff, 2019). Interactive lecturing exemplifies agile teaching where brief chunks of content are interspersed with engagement activities that involve students in applying what they have learned. Student engagement is not an exclusively instructor initiates-student responds-instructor evaluates (IRE) form of interaction. Rather, it is a three-way approach that encompasses instructor-student, student-student and student-content interaction. This is the essence of real interactive lecturing.

Close indicates that a powerful teaching process calls for a purposeful wrap. The momentum that has been generated during process will be lost if the class ends abruptly or if the last few minutes are taken up with housekeeping announcements. Therefore, it is important to debrief the session with a closing bookend to consolidate student learning. This way, the closing bookend of one class becomes the bridge to the opening bookend of the next class.


Amobi, F. (2020). Four Strategies for Facilitating Group Activities in Remote and Hybrid/Blended Classes.

Bruff, D. (2019). Intentional tech: Principles to guide educational technology in college teaching. Morgantown, WV: West Virginia University Press.

Chick, N., Friberg, J., & Bessette, L.S. (2020). What the research tells us about higher education’s temporary shift to remote teaching: What the public needs to know, from the SoTL community.

Gooblar, D. (2020). Your students will be different this fall.

Major, C. H. (2018). Engaging students through interactive lecturing. NEA Higher Education Advocate, 36(5), 6-9.

Martin, F., & Bolliger, D. U. (2018). Engagement matters: Student perceptions on the importance of engagement strategies in the online learning environment. Online Learning Journal, 22(1), 205-222.

Milner, B., Kotlicki, M., & Andrzej, R. G. (2007). Can students learn from lecture demonstrations? The role and place of interactive lecture experiments in large introductory biology courses. Journal of College Science Teaching, 36(4), 45-49.

Funmi Amobi is an instructional consultant in the Center for Teaching and Learning. She provides pedagogical support to faculty through 1:1 consultations, mini workshops (Sparkshops) on teaching-related topics, dissemination of infographics on evidence-based instructional practices and co-facilitation of faculty learning communities.

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