Strategies and Opportunities for 7-1-7 Course Design
Purpose of Study Week
The midterm Study Week in week 8 creates opportunities for earlier and more intensive support for students who may struggle with their course work. The Study Week also provides an opportunity for students to catch up on course work, take a break, or to complete assignments without additional schoolwork or exams being assigned so learners return to classes refreshed and ready for the final weeks of the semester.
Results from a Study Week survey conducted at Cambrian during the Fall semester in 2019 (322 staff and 1,153 students) showed that 84% of staff and 97% of students are in favour of a Study Week in every semester of the academic year. The survey indicated that students were concerned about their mental health and the break would be beneficial. In addition, 18 other colleges across the province now follow a 14-week semester schedule.
Strategies and Opportunities to Consider
To adjust courses for a 14-week delivery, it is suggested that program faculty tackle making any changes to the curriculum as a program team to avoid creating gaps in your program.
- What course(s) have students completed before entering your course?
- Was any of your content already covered in those course(s)?
- What course(s) does your course directly prepare for students for?
- What key content do you need to keep in your own course?
In addition to the usual course outline review, syllabus review and orientation to the course, add in a lecture with some application activities Suggestions to free up time in class for a lesson:
- Create a screen capture video that explains the syllabus and post it in Moodle
- Create a screen capture video that explains the course outline and post it in Moodle
- Add suggestions of how to have presentations done in a different manner than taking up 2 – 3 in-class sessions
- Have students create video presentations that they share with the class. Peers can view, comment and provide feedback outside of class.
- FlipGrid is a great tool for sharing videos and allowing for students to comment on their peer’s videos.
- Padlet is another alternative for sharing video and allowing for students to comment.
- Add suggestions for exam review that students can do on their own
- Have groups of students create study guides or graphic organizers for certain topics that will be covered on the test. Have them share and/or teach back to the class.
- Post practice case studies for students to try on their own; post answers on Moodle so students can check their work.
- Embed short weekly reviews into your current lecture schedule.
- Use Kahoot or other quizzing software at the beginning or end of class to review 3-5 key questions that could be on future tests.
Review the list of topics covered in the course. If a topic isn’t aligned with the course learning outcomes (CLOs), remove that topic to free up some class time for topics directly aligned with the CLOs. Identify the ‘need to know’ and the ‘nice to know’; the nice to know content can potentially be removed or added as an online extension activity.
Review the depth of each topic. If possible, cover topic(s) to the depth outlined in the course learning outcome(s). Provide supplemental course materials that allow the students to go in depth on certain topics on their own.
If so, decide which course will continue to teach the content to the depth the program needs. That leaves gaps in which other courses can now fill with other relevant content that needs to be covered.
Think critically about how class time, whether in-class or online, is being used. Are there any activities that take up time, but add little learning value? How might you find efficiencies?
Curriculum maps provide an overview of an entire program. Curriculum maps show the alignment of program courses to the Vocational or Program Learning Outcomes, Accreditation Competencies, Essential Employability Skills (EES), and General Education requirements. A curriculum map shows where a vocational or program outcome is taught, reinforced and/or assessed in each course.
Where possible, program teams can get together to determine where certain vocational or program outcomes can be completely removed from a course because they are covered in another course(s). Eliminating outcomes entirely from a course without communicating with the program team could create gaps in the overall program delivery.
You can find your Curriculum Map in myCambrian (Staff → Quick Links → Program Maps).