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Teaching Tip

Surviving and Thriving in the Online Classroom

  • "In order to articulate the skills and competencies required for online teaching success, the desired end-state of faculty preparedness must be considered. The primary goal of a faculty/professional development exercise need not be to create technological phenoms who can squeeze every bit of wizardry out of a given learning management system to the astonishment of their students. Rather, the goal is to develop competence in the necessary skills of the online instructor enabling them to survive initially and ultimately thrive in this new teaching and learning space."
     -Chris Palmer, Faculty Focus in Higher Ed Teaching Strategies 

Learning Outcomes: What, Why, and How!


  • Learning outcomes are a set of statements that enhance and illuminate a course or activity description by articulating in measurable terms how students will successfully demonstrate critical content mastery.


  • Good outcomes help create focus on the knowledge and skills students need, identify the critical tasks and techniques students need to master, and inform the selection of assignments and assessments that promote student achievement of those outcomes. Quality learning outcomes can help students form realistic expectations about a course/activity, clarify learning targets, and link course
    outcomes and program goals with their future needs.

Steps for writing learning outcomes:

  • Make a list of the things students need to know and be able to do as a result of your course. Example: Upon completion of the course, students will understand quality differences in internet sources.
  • Reflect on how students will demonstrate acquisition of the specified knowledge and skills. Will they define, solve, create, compare, etc.? Example: How will I know if students understand quality differences in internet sources? I would know if they could demonstrate the ability to successfully evaluate a list of internet sources based an appropriate rating criteria.
  • Using action verbs from your reflection on how students will demonstrate learning, adjust your outcomes. Example: Upon completions of the course, students will be able to evaluate internet sources using an information leteracy guide.

 -Kelleen Stine-Cheyne, PhD, Director, Teaching Learning Resource Center

Outside Resources:

    1. A Model of Learning Outcomes
    2. Writing Student Learning Outcomes (Step-by-Step prcess and examples)
    3. Characteristics of Good Learning Outcomes
    4. Learning Outcomes (Adapted from the Texas A&M Center for Teaching Excellence)


  • "Have you ever wondered if what you teach in your classes really “sticks,” or stays with students in the long term? REFLECTION is a great way to enhance learning and encourage critical thinking. At the end of a lecture, activity, or practical experience, provide students a question pertaining to the activity that you would like them to think more about. Tell them to consider the question and then write down their thoughts as well as any additional questions that they might have as a result of their reflection. To assure students complete the reflection, it’s best to have them turn it in for some kind of grade or opportunity for a few extra points at the end of the semester. If you are a student, you can do this on your own. If you do, you’ll get a lot more out of the class and will probably find that the learning “sticks” better.
    -Kelleen Stine-Cheyne, PhD, Director, Teaching Learning Resource Center

"...Group Brainstorming..."

  • “Students do not come into our courses as blank slates, but rather with knowledge gained from other courses or past experiences. This knowledge consists of a fusion of facts, concepts, and beliefs, some of which may be inaccurate or inappropriate to the context. As students bring this knowledge into a classroom setting, it influences how they filter and interpret incoming information.
  • One tip you can use is group brainstorming, a strategy to reveal prior knowledge. For example, you can ask a question, “What comes to mind when you think about ethics in health care?” to expose factual or conceptual knowledge, “What do you think of when you hear the word epidemic?” to uncover beliefs or assumptions, or “What are some methodologies you could use to research this question?” to surface contextual knowledge.
    -Suzanna Ramos, Faculty Development Graduate Assistant