Two strategies for addressing common student needs are detailed below. While these strategies can help you get started, it’s recommended that you visit the resources available on the next page for more varied and detailed approaches.
Guiding assignment or quiz
For example, imagine again the situation where you received a significant number of students who indicated that they didn’t watch a video all the way through because they thought it was confusing. You could assign a follow-up quiz that asks a series of relevant questions about information or concepts that build through the course the video – each question is one step along that path.Applying concepts covered in course content, especially in a practice quiz, has been shown to improve learning and retention (Dunlosky et al, 2013). Moreover, by scaffolding questions, you have opportunities to guide students through readings or videos.
Alternately, you could assign a low-stakes assignment that provides a structure for the content, but that students have to fill out (e.g. a partial outline, reading guide, or worksheet). Whatever the method, the key component is for the assignment or quiz to be worth few points, so students will have an opportunity to practice their learning before addressing heavier-stakes assessments.
Class discussion or mini-lecture
If your analysis indicated that there was only a few concepts that students were struggling with, you may want to forgo new content for a small portion of the class, and instead go back to the information or concept that students indicated was challenging. By addressing this directly in class (e.g. “It sounds like a lot you were feeling confused about the Krebs Cycle in the reading, so let’s break this down before we go on,”), you can potentially save a great deal of time and confusion as your course gets more complex.
If you don’t want to use class time for this, perhaps record a very short video explaining the concepts in a different way, and send it out to your students in an announcement.
Finding more strategies
There are many other strategies available to help you address your classes’ needs. In particular, Teaching for Student Success: An Evidence-Based Approach includes numerous evidence-based strategies to address classroom needs, many of which were created by faculty like you.