Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Upper Level Course Challenge

High-level classes deserve high-quality learning materials, technology, and strategy.

Whether it is the reading materials, technology, or the course itself, there are many ways to keep an upper level course interesting, inspiring, and thought-provoking.

Finding the perfect materials to fit your course can be tedious, especially for graduate or other upper-level courses. The materials need to be challenging yet readable, detailed yet not overly wordy, modern yet traditional. Finding the right balance is a constant struggle for most instructors in their academic careers. More and more professors are choosing to mix and match content from many sources to create adequate materials. High-quality materials help keep the course itself fresh, stimulating, and unique.

There are many ways to teach difficult concepts to all types of learners in an upper level course to engage and deepen the understanding of content. Some professors hold discussion-based classes while others enact a flipped classroom, with projects and student collaboration occurring online or outside the physical classroom. Mini lectures at the beginning and end of each class can help students review prior concepts and encourages them to develop new ideas once class is dismissed.

No matter the challenges professors face regarding upper level courses, trying something new – like custom textbooks or flipped classrooms – can make a big difference!