Create An Active Learning Environment

In order for students to gain knowledge from the presentation of information, they should actively participate in their learning. "Active learning provides opportunities for students to talk and listen, read, write, and reflect as they approach course content through problem-solving exercises, informal small groups, simulations, case studies, role playing, in-class questions and other activities, all of which require students to apply what they are learning and/or think about what they are learning as they are learning" (Lubawy, 2003).

Examples of Canvas Use

  1. Provide case studies, quizzes, and problems for students to study, reflect upon and answer to the best of their ability.
  2. Have students prepare a “minute paper” to answer “what was the most important thing you learned in this class?” and “what important question remains unanswered?” (Cross & Angelo, 1993, pp. 148-153). Have the students submit this paper to the Canvas Assignments tool.
  3. Design electronic slide presentations of 7 to 10 minutes per segment. Post the slides in a shared File folder or in a module. Then direct students to a short online quiz or discussion with questions about the materials they just studied.
  4. Provide links to useful websites in Modules or Pages.
  5. Consider uploading a glossary file(s) to Files to encourage students to expand their knowledge of the vocabulary of the discipline.
  6. Post weekly learning activities as Pages.
  7. Use Discussions to promote active discussion outside of class. Include topics that require some research. Discussions can be used for course content or open topics of student interest.
  8. Consider holding virtual classroom (Zoom or Google Meet) sessions to deliver problems or questions. Consider having students compete to respond first. If quantitative, have them show their work as file attachments.
  9. Assign students to develop a lesson/unit for the rest of the class to perform. Students can propose units as Discussion topics, and the instructor can select and post topics as Assignments tasks for the entire class.

General Best Practices

  1. Create situations in which students become actively involved, physically and mentally, in order to learn more and learn more effectively and make it meaningful. Have them talk about it, write about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their lives (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996, p. 3).
  2. Deliver lecture material in 7 to 10 minute segments, then pause to ask pre-planned rhetorical questions. Have the students record their answers in their notes (Drummond, 2002, p. 1).
  3. Have students rehearse and prepare a lesson ahead of time, deliver it to a group (classmates) and receive feedback (Angelo, 1993, p. 4).
  4. Have students paraphrase a main idea or concept in a couple of sentences to a specific audience. Then have the students paraphrase the same explanation to a completely different audience (parents, children, professionals, novices, experts, etc.) Assess the paraphrases for accuracy and appropriateness (p. 4).
  5. Provide opportunities for students to perform apprentice-like activities (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996, p. 3).
  6. Have students research concepts relating to specific subjects on the Internet or in the Library. Make them aware of and accountable for the proper procedure for reporting and annotating correctly.
  7. Have students simulate techniques using or producing computer activities.
  8. Promote the development of insight by designing models.