Focus Attention

"Students in introductory courses often cannot tell what is central from what is peripheral, foreground from background, superordinate from subordinate" (Angelo, 1993, p. 4). Focus the attention of students on the aspects that matter most.

Examples of Sakai use

  1. Post the syllabus, potentially updating goals and objectives on a unit-by-unit basis. Include learning objectives, course goals, course requirements, deadlines, tasks, expectations, etc.
  2. Consider using the Forums or a Survey to allow students to provide input into the goals and objectives, projects, etc. for the course.
  3. Provide a course outline/schedule or post deadlines to the calendar. 
  4. Post information about the course that is clear and complete.
  5. Post learning objectives within the syllabus and include them on the Sakai home page, in the Syllabus tool, or Lessons.
  6. Post documents to support required tasks in a timely manner. 
  7. Post quizzes to assess student progress.
  8. Set up Tasks in Sakai for students to focus on the work to be done and to track their progress.
  9. Get students in the habit of checking Sakai regularly. Routine posting of announcements, perhaps with hints, tips, comments, etc. motivate students to check back frequently.
  10. Use an Assignment, Forum, or Quiz to ask students something about the task at hand. For example: What does a particular item accomplish? What is the usefulness of the topic? What input is needed for solving a long-range decision?
  11. Consider posting old exams online in order to let students see how learning objectives are evaluated.
  12. Show how questions on exams map to objectives.

General best practices for focusing attention from current educational models

  1. Provide very specific course goals.
  2. Ask the students "what do you hope to get from the class?" Angelo (1993, p. 4) recommended having students write a few specific learning goals early in the term that they hope to achieve through the course. Have them compare their learning goals with others in the class and with the goals of the course. "Look for and build upon areas of congruence, but don't gloss over potential conflicts or disconnects. Refer back to and assess progress toward shared goals throughout the semester" (p. 4).
  3. Provide the students with a calendar of the entire semester's work to be completed by student. Provide the grading scale/point value for each facet of the course.
  4. Before a lecture, provide the students with an advance organizer - learning objectives, agenda, or a list of the key points for each unit or lesson (Rolheiser & Fullan, 2002, p. 3).
  5. Perform pre-assessments to let students test their knowledge of the subject to determine what they already know.