Good teaching involves active engagement with students and allows them to develop and apply their knowledge and skills to real-world problems.
Explore different ways of delivering your teaching to engage your students.
Choosing the most appropriate method of delivery for a particular lesson depends on the following factors:
- who your students are (including their prior knowledge, experience and preferences)
- the most effective approach to learning a particular topic or skill
- any practical constraints (e.g. time, space, facilities)
Within these parameters, try to plan classes that actively engage students and facilitate their learning.
Any new content and assessment you develop should be discussed with, and approved by, your program or course coordinator.
- Biggs, John B.; Tang, Catherine (2011). Teaching For Quality Learning At University.
Plan your classes
Whether you are teaching a lecture, tutorial, seminar, lab or studio, a lesson plan will help you organise the session to cover the content and activities essential to achieving the lesson’s aims.
Plan your classes to maintain continuity from one week to the next and which situate the current lesson within the context of the whole course.
Using a template such as in the resources below:
- List the learning outcomes for the lesson based on the course learning outcomes and assessment requirements.
- Include learning activities to build students’ acquisition of the relevant knowledge and skills.
- Communicate the aims of the lesson to the students to help them maintain focus.
Be realistic about timing. Leave enough time for the essentials but build in extra extension activities if you need them.
If things don’t quite go as planned, make notes and update your lesson plan as soon as you can.
Be creative in your teaching approach
Don’t be constrained by traditional delivery modes; for example, a ‘lecture’ does not have to be one-way information delivery.
Learning may be enhanced by a variety of teaching approaches. Structure your lesson around the most appropriate approach to the subject matter.
- Flipped classroom – Students are responsible for doing some initial reading, viewing or exploring before coming to a more activity-based class.
- Enquiry-based learning – Students learn by investigating a question, problem or scenario with varying degrees of guidance and independence
- Problem based learning – Students learn about a topic in the context of ‘real world’ problems
- Project based learning – Students undertake a project in which they design or build something
- Scenario based learning – Students work through a storyline, comprised of realistic scenarios involving a complex problem which they are required to solve.
- Team-based learning – Students work collaboratively in small teams both in and outside the classroom to develop and apply knowledge
Engage your students
Students learn best when they are actively engaged. The following strategies will help you to engage your learners.
- Provide real-world examples that help students relate the content to the bigger picture of work, career and life.
- Model good academic behaviour - be enquiring, collaborative and critical.
- Know your students. Take the time to build rapport and understand the learning needs of your students. Be aware of the diversity of your students, as you may need to adapt your teaching to be more inclusive of everyone.
- Give feedback at every opportunity. A student's experience is enhanced when they receive regular and constructive feedback which helps guide them through their learning development.
- Encourage student contributions and feedback.
- Facilitate peer learning by including group activities.
- Vary learning activities.
- Enjoy your teaching. Enthusiasm is catching.
Make the most of teaching spaces
RMIT has a variety of learning and teaching spaces that are designed to facilitate and enhance collaboration. When planning your classes, think about how you could best use the space and the interactions that could be fostered between yourself and your students.
- Lecture spaces can be interactive or discursive, allowing you to move more freely throughout the space allowing for greater teacher-student and student-student engagement.
- Tutorial and lectorial spaces can allow students and teachers to share ideas, network, and conduct group discussions and project based activities.
- Studios have been designed to allow students to work collaboratively and experience workplace contexts.
- Laboratories are equipped with innovative technologies and equipment for students to apply their theoretical learning.
If you are scheduled to teach in an unfamiliar space, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the space and the equipment prior to your class. This will help you feel more comfortable in the environment and allow you to prepare your teaching accordingly. You should also be aware of who to contact in the event of unforeseen issues such as technology troubles or room access.
Use online technologies
Online and blended learning strategies can be used to facilitate the delivery of your teaching and encourage exploration, problem solving, reflection, collaboration and self-managed learning both onshore and offshore.
Blackboard is the University’s learning management system which staff can access via the Learning Hub. Students can access their Blackboard courses via myRMIT, as well as additional resources to support their studies, including class and exam timetables, and their academic history.
All courses have a Blackboard ‘shell’, which can be used for:
- Organising course content and assessment tasks
- Delivery of online multimedia content
- Communicating with students
- Sharing learning resources such as library subject guides and the Learning Lab
- Creative and collaborative learning activities using the built-in tools such as blogs, discussion boards, wikis and the Blackboard Collaborate virtual classroom
Blackboard provides access to Turnitin, an online assignment submission and grading tool that provides text-matching functionality that can be used to support academic integrity and address plagiarism.
Lecture capture facilities are available to record your lectures for online delivery via Blackboard. This allows students to view lectures if they are unable to attend in person, and also to review at their own pace.
As well as using these widely supported platforms, you may want to experiment with other e-learning tools in your teaching.