Creating course activities to boost student engagement

How do we ‘activate’ learning? In what ways can we engage students to promote their analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of course content? 

A number of frameworks are available to us to activate learning. These principles help learners connect to curricular content, take responsibility for their own learning, and think critically in order to solve problems. This section also provides access to a collection of Lakehead University faculty strategies that are working well to engage our learners in our courses and programs. If you want to discuss any of these principles further do not hesitate to  reach out to one of the Teaching Commons’ Instructional Developers or Instructional Designers. You can find their contact information on our Contact Us page.

What we are doing at Lakehead University to activate learning

The Teaching Commons wants to spotlight Lakehead University faculty who employ strategies that work. Through the other areas of the Teaching Commons space we are sharing long term best practices to activate learning effectively. This page will share what we are doing (and what's working) at Lakehead right now.

What strategies are working for you right now? Tell us more so we can spotlight you!

Initiating strategies

Time and course management is as much a learner's priority as it is a teaching priority. Sarah Jacobs shares her process of making explicit the ‘learning compass’ for each week of the course she teaches.

Synthesizing strategies

To help you with both learner engagement goals and to aid in the efficient synthesizing of complex course topics Rob Mawinney has shared his session cycle.

Feedback strategies

Self-reflection is a key part of the feedback process. Wendy Parks has shared techniques she used to initiate the process of self-reflection in her course.

More information to help you support active learning

  • A Contact North webinar recording for, "How to Create Active and Engaging Learning Experiences with Zoom Breakout Rooms," outlines how a variety of active-learning activities can be easily adapted for implementation within Zoom, along with simple and free 3rd party tools to enable extended activities. It also provided helpful and detailed instructions for setting up breakout rooms, communication with breakout rooms, etc.
  • The University of Waterloo has shared ‘Activities for large classes’ to provide specific guidelines (and variations) for 14 strategies/tools that can be used as active-learning points of engagement in large classes to elicit participation and feedback.