From Planning to Completion

A light-flooded staircase at Freie Universität Berlin.

A light-flooded staircase at Freie Universität Berlin.
Image Credit: CC Jamina Diel/Lian Hüntelmann BY-NC-SA

Teaching methods are employed not for their own sake, but for the sake of implementing learning goals and imparting content based upon those goals. As a university teacher, you are obliged to teach what is specified in the descriptions of the degree programs and modules, but you still have room for maneuver. There are a great many reliable methods for designing learning processes. As with research methods, these always need to match the content being taught, the particular students, the context, and yourself as a teacher. Because methods can be employed in wide-ranging ways, hardly any methods are generally incompatible with gender- and diversity-conscious teaching. However, they require you to reflect upon your own teaching from a standpoint of gender and diversity competence.

Planning and Preparation

The first planning stages of a course usually happen long before the first class session.

As you write the course description for the course catalog, you should think about the factors and requirements, set goals, and develop a rough idea of the content and topics. If you have flexibility in choosing the format, consider how you can best achieve your goals while keeping your students engaged with a range of material and activities. As part of what module will the course be offered? Who is the target group? Will all students be coming from the same degree ...

This is the period during which you are busiest planning your course. Your main guides are the goals you already outlined, which you will have adapted to the degree programs’ requirements. Try to plan accordingly to the goals and continually review what the students need to learn to achieve them. Be realistic and modify the goal descriptions if needed. This way, you gradually fill the syllabus with various topics. Think about how your content intersects and pay special ...

Getting Off to a Good Start

The first session of a course is often exciting for everyone. Thorough planning and preparation helps get the semester off to a good start. In some disciplines, it is common for students to attend many courses in the first weeks and only then pick their final syllabus.

You should have the following goals for the first session of any course: The students have an idea of the content and the structure of the course. The central idea is clear. It’s important to get the students intrigued about the subject and motivated for the course. Try to convey why you are so excited about the subject yourself or share your own research or learning process. Some of our suggestions for engaging your students are also useful for the first session. You have ...

Depending on the type and size of the course, it is worthwhile for you, the lecturer, to get to know your students and for them to get to know each other. This gives you a sense of who you are working with and might help you correct your assumptions from the preparation stage. This also makes it easier for the students to discuss things or participate in learning groups. It might be wise to schedule this activity for the second or third session, once you can be sure that all the people ...

Everyone in the room shares responsibility for a course’s success. However, as the lecturer, it is your job to create the best possible conditions for a constructive learning atmosphere. Particularly when issues of gender and diversity are raised, there can be very lively discussions, wide-ranging levels of sensitivity, and unfortunately, people can also be hurt. To promote a positive atmosphere of discussion, it is worthwhile establishing rules for a respectful interaction and exchange ...

It is important to enter each session with a good plan. Yet there are many circumstances in which the timing is highly dependent on the students’ behavior, such as their preparation or participation, requiring you to be spontaneous and rearrange your time. Version April 2017. Unless otherwise stated, this content is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence .

Theme-centered interaction calls for explicitly addressing occurrences that disrupt the flow of a class session. These might be incessant background noises, a person using their smartphone or tablet, or disruptive comments or use of words. In these cases, it is helpful if you have agreed on how to deal with such instances at the beginning of the semester. You can also mention an issue or problem but explicitly put off discussing or responding to it until the next session. This gives you ...

Many courses involve discussions with students. The aim might be to resolve questions, to compare different academic approaches, or to gather ideas or arguments. As the lecturer, you are responsible for moderating and structuring the discussion unless you have specifically arranged otherwise. It is desirable for as many different students to participate in discussions, not always the same few people. You can encourage this by using methods for engaging your students. As the ...

An interim evaluation is a very useful tool for improving your teaching. Instead of waiting until the end of the semester to get students’ feedback, you can respond to comments and criticisms right away. That does not mean that you have to throw your existing plan overboard. Small modifications can also improve the learning process. This shows that you are taking your students seriously and often gives a big boost to their overall satisfaction. It’s also a way to prevent unexplained ...

Ending on a good note

An evaluation at the end of the course gives you an overview into your students’ impressions, which you can then use for your concluding and follow-up work . Freie Universität academic departments typically use online surveys. Evaluations can also include questions about the implementation of gender- and diversity-conscious teaching. Depending on the subject of the course and the students’ prior knowledge, you can ask direct or indirect questions. Here are a few suggestions , ...

The teaching cycle spotlights the role of doing follow-up work after your courses – this is where you learn from your experiences as a lecturer. That includes following up on the outcome of individual sessions as well as the outcome of the course as a whole. Take notes about all ideas, impressions, problems, successes, feedback, and ideas for changes . You should also reflect on your teaching in view of gender and diversity. To do so, you can use the online self-evaluation tool ...

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Version April 2017. Unless otherwise stated, this content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International licence