Welcome to our new instructor guide. It is a work in progress and will probably be so for its entire life. We have big plans and you can view the start of something we hope will be really useful.
Clicking on the left will take you through a table of contents. Each topic is filled with advice and tactics you might consider using in your class.
We are creating an entire video series that will accompany each topic. We will be adding other topics related to tech and policies in the coming weeks.
Be sure to check back on a regular basis as we add content.
The story you will be telling over the course of the semester. We want each learning experience to tell a narrative that a student could use to illustrate the skills, techniques or process they experienced.
The STAR2 method incorporates:
Situation – Situating the course idea within a context that is current, relevant and reflects your, the industry professional, work experience.
Task – the tasks that students will need to complete. They will do this either individually or as part of a team where they are assigned a specific role or responsibilities.
Action – the steps required to complete the task(s).
Result – what is the desired outcome(s) and how you are going to recognize superior achievement?
Reflection – an opportunity for the student to consider what they learned along with areas of importance or improvement.
The topics and tasks should flow from week to week and the students should be able to clearly understand what they are doing, what the result is, and why they are doing it.
Relevancy and impact are important to our students. Their time and effort are valuable, and they will be more willing to put in effort if they understand why you are asking them to do something. While we have the foresight to see the potential benefit to students, you are competing for their minds in a very noisy world.
These values/benefits can be spelled out in the course objectives. While you shouldn’t be shy about telling them what you are bringing into the classroom that makes the experience special, be prepared to relate that back to your students’ own life or career aspirations.
What are the benefits associated with a particular tool/process/skill?
What skills and knowledge will they be developing or using in the class?
How can they leverage this course/skill/knowledge to advance their own career plans?
What insider perspective, know-how, or network will you open for them?
Everything should flow back to your value proposition.
The structure of your course should help facilitate the course narrative. Most BiPs are either 3 hours meeting once a week for 7 weeks, or 1.5 hours meeting once a week for 14 weeks. Be mindful of setting milestones/deliverables throughout the course that allow you to check the progress of the students, as well as making sure students understand where this is all headed.
7 Week Course: Intensive, compact, a lot of real-time tasks. Think about using a workshop style structure which will allow you to a deep dive into skill or process and allows for idea generation. Mix things up to hold everyone’s attention while bringing in related concepts or skills to provide a more comprehensive understanding. Be prepared to have breaks so students can reengage with the course. Understand that students missing one class may have a difficult time catching up; you may need to provide slides or a recording of the session.
14 Week Course: Gradual, more accumulative in nature, opportunity for more percolation and reflection. This format allows a longer time to develop a sense of community or rapport with students. Focus on one topic/concept at a time. Be prepared that class time may pass quickly, especially with active learning. Be mindful of in-class time with students; we recommend giving pre-work or slides [Flipped classroom] so students are ready to participate. Lecturing can easily “eat” your time, find other ways to give that content or have students engage with that content.
The key is to have enough content so that students can attain the learning goals you established while not assigning so much that your students decide to totally disengage. Be flexible > once you know the class, be ready to find content that covers the same topic but may tell it in a different way or through a different industry or lens.
Feel free to generate your own content or to curate content from other sources. It may be beneficial to record a video navigating through an exercise or software tool application, or posting an interview of a colleague/guest speaker to illustrate a point. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can also find content from a variety of resources or have a BiP guide help you pinpoint/vet content.
You’ll be teaching digital natives. They’ll be consuming a vast variety of media, use it to your advantage and include YouTube, responses to social media, coverage of current events, podcasts, or other media.
Teach the students you have and not the ones you wish you would have
Don’t assume that students have an adequate background
Try to bring students up to your level (rather than dropping down to their level)
Students will have unequal backgrounds and different levels of interest
Be cognizant that they can only absorb so much at a time
Diving more deeply into fewer topics generally yields better results that trying to ensure that you superficially cover everything
Curate the material and only assign what is necessary (offer optional material for those who have an interest in a particular topic)
It is better to have your content set prior to the start of class then try and find content and have to teach at the same time
Students will put in more effort if they understand why they should do something in a particular way
Keep ideas simple while using rich examples/applications
Find topics/examples that interest your students
Use a pre-class survey to assess their knowledge/background (understanding that they think they will know more than they actually do)
Provide materials that enable them to independently gain foundational knowledge
Chunk up the material
Have something from the news or a real work situation in your back pocket to fill time
The classroom or Zoom is your shared meeting ground. Think about using it to your best advantage. Pre-arrange to have students sit in assigned teams, or to fill in areas of the front of the classroom first.
Start class before the first student arrives. Have something on the screen that they should respond too, have a related current event that applies to the topic or field with a question, play some music that sets the stage, give them an online poll or word cloud. It can also be a more personal interaction: just as you would greet or ask a colleague how they’re doing or what they’re following….ask them a question that helps you get to know them (they can respond in real-time, in a Teams chat, on Mural, by writing on a class white board, etc…). This is the beginning of establishing a community.
Don’t hesitate to mix things up, even if there are teams. Have an introductory exercise that is for similar roles on a team, or have student sit next to each other as they enter (or find their place card), or have them sit together based on a response to a pre-work assignment.
Set expectations from the beginning of what is acceptable behavior.
Require attendance and be consistent and clear from day one
It might take a few weeks before the students are fully onboard and understand what you are trying to do.
Have your students do something in class that they could not otherwise do. This might be because of difficulty in scheduling, they not knowing anyone, get the benefit of your expertise, or interact with a guest speaker
Allow for peer instruction (Use each other for help)
Feel a part of a shared experience to motivate them
Get them to have real conversations with each other
Keep lecturing to a minimum
Leverage the fact that you have them all in the same place so that you can speak once to many listeners
Teach your students how to become good listeners and provide useful feedback
Have students respond with an opinion rather than just providing a summary
Think about what you can eliminate if you are running out of time and what you can add if you have too much time
Assign pre-work to make class time more productive
Get your students talking. Let them learn from each other while learning from you
Have students report on work they completed outside of class
Find a way for everyone to share in the feedback process
Create class time to workshop ideas or work in progress
Preview what you are going to do and when there might be heavy lecturing
Try to have students present their work prior to the final presentation so they can get some constructive feedback and improve
Have students prep in advance for guest speakers
Communication is the key to success in any learning experience. It is important for students to understand why you have chosen to do something and when it is going to happen. This helps not only in setting the appropriate expectations, it also ensures that the appropriate level of preparation takes place in advance of class.
If emailing the entire class, use Canvas so that there is a record and students can reference it at a later date from a central source
Be careful about relying on email. Most students do not check it regularly.
Always use your UNH email.
You often have to remind them about something more than once.
Let deadlines to ensure you get what you want/need at the appropriate time.
Use the calendar function in Canvas so that they can see the dates and deadlines in one place
Try and include as much as possible in the syllabus with included deadlines
Have regular due dates (every Monday for example) and try and create patterns that will be easy for them to follow (for example, there is always a pre-class assignment that is due 24 hours before class)
Expect that it will take a week (or two or three) before they get in the rhythm.
Consider using Teams to send messages or chat
Video can be an effective way to encourage discussion outside class
Become familiar with the functionality that Canvas has to offer
For new instructors, ask your guide for help
Think about creating your messages in advance and schedule when they go out to your students
Flipgrid has been a great tool for introductions and creating online conversations about particular topics
Introduce a tool like Mural to help students collaborate and work through the ideation process
Documents can be shared and collectively worked on in MS Teams
We are social creatures. Students want to feel part of something. They are more likely to learn when it happens collectively and collaboratively. How will you create a sense of a shared commitment where coming to class and putting in one’s best effort will contribute to an awesome learning experience for everyone?
Share a little bit about yourself and your work history
Find ways for students to get to know each other
Try and learn as many names as possible
Create your own class story
Make sure everyone feels welcome
Every class seems to have one or two students who are not reluctant to speak out. However, the best classes are ones where everyone participates. Try to get everyone involved without appearing to intentionally single anyone out.
Develop and distribute a pre-class survey to learn more about your students (particularly their interests)
If you have the time, think about scheduling a 15 minute conference (Zoom is fine) for your students to get to know you and feel more comfortable.
Pair students on the first day, have them chat for 5 – 10 minutes and then introduce the other person to the rest of the class.
Possibly use Fipgrid and have each student prepare a short video introduction that can be posted on Canvas.
Use name tents in class
Use small group discussions and have one person report out – they are more likely to speak if they are talking for the group rather than themselves
Form teams and have them work on an activity together such as coming up with a team name.
Reach out to students on LinkedIn
Active Learning Strategy
Students should learn by doing rather than by listening. They need to be actively engaged with the material. Applications should take center stage. Leave little room for passive behavior, especially in small groups, by setting tasks or activities that each person must contribute towards.
You do not need to expose your students to everything there is to know about a topic
The focus is always on the application (more important than content coverage)
Minimize lecture and maximize opportunities for action
Think about how your students could learn by completing some task or project
If you were onboarding a new employee, how much would you lay out for them and how much would you expect them to figure out on their own? How would you help them figure things out?
Create a semester long project with a deliverable at the end and have the students complete a portion of that project each week
Put the students into teams and have them work each week either in or outside of class on an activity that will help them develop a deeper understanding of the topic for a particular week
Either pair up your students or put them into groups and have them discuss how they might approach a particular problem and potential solutions
Have your students prepare for a guest speaker by sharing questions in advance or require that they reach out to someone in industry to gain a better understanding of a concept, action, or strategy
Create opportunities for students to comment on each other’s work and offer suggestions for improvement
Think about fun ways that students can interact with you and each other to gain those needed soft skills that will help them be successful
It can be challenging to hold your student’s attention for an entire class period. It is not about ensuring that you have enough material to talk at them for 1.5 or 3 hours. Learning best takes place when students are engaged with you, each other, and the material in a manner that has them actively doing something that contributes to their understanding.
Select topics/examples that your students find interesting
Share real stories from your own experience or that of others
Mix things up to hold their attention
Strategically use breaks to give them a chance to stretch and then reengage
Think in terms of 20-30 minute blocks
Provide opportunities for you students to tell their own stories
Have your students work with each other in class and share their work
Create a variety of avenues for students to ask questions and get answers
Realize that some students are in the course to satisfy a requirement or because it was the best fit for their schedule (nothing to do with interest)
Organize each block around a different approach
Presentation of work
Assign pre-work prior to class so that you can develop a better idea of who to call on and what your students are interested in discussing
Wait for students to respond to questions – an uncomfortable silence is a technique for getting your students to speak up. The quieter the room, the more uncomfortable they become and the more likely they are to speak
Use the chat feature in real time (MS Teams/Zoom) to facilitate the conversation
Have a FAQ on canvas where students can post
If your students seem to not be paying attention, stop and have everyone stand up and move around for a minute or two.
Walk the room frequently – will shift their attention
Make special effort to call on quiet students who likely have something good to say
Need to strike a balance between engaging with them like students (treat everything as an assignment) and getting them ready for the work world (force them to figure it out)
Start each class with day in the life/news or anything that would interest them. Can be a great conversation starter
Make space for creating connections
If a student is not doing their work, schedule a private meeting with them to identify the issue and craft a solution
Almost all of our courses have the students working collaboratively together in teams. We believe that collaboration is an important skill that needs to be nurtured and guided. We encourage you to provide some structure/parameters for teams, especially at the beginning of the semester. Defining roles or responsibilities (will they remain in place entire semester or rotate), clearly defined tasks, ask for a result from the team’s work to share (discussion point, idea, progress, roadblock, etc…)
Initial team engagement example:
Phase 1: Set a group icebreaker or activity with personal aspect so they can meet each other.
Phase 2: Move onto course specific task. Keep the project tasks open, easy to contribute to, and start with pure idea/contribution (ex. everyone posts 3 sticky notes with an idea or response)
Phase 3: Responses/reactions/analysis after the contributions have been made.
Phase 4: Each team discusses contributions and prioritize the sticky notes/ideas on the board). As a group, they prepare a response/result to the task
Phase 5: Each teams determines who will summarize progress to class group. Engage in class discussion.
Phase 6: Discuss action items or next steps all teams should be moving onto. [Clarify who will be responsible for aspects of the next task]
Approach the formation of teams in a deliberate and thoughtful manner
Intervene early if things are not going well
Think about how students are going to get feedback about their team performance and strategies for improvement
Clearly establish roles and responsibilities for teams and their members
Coordinating class schedules is often the biggest impediment for effective teamwork. Help your students understand how technology can help solve coordination issues
The optimal group size is often between 3 – 5
Be on the lookout for free riders and help team members ensure that everyone is making a contribution
Use a pre-class survey to identify student interests
Think about assigning individual roles within a team
Create opportunities for team members to get to know each other and form a common bond
Use peer feedback as a tool for improving team performance
Introduce intermediate points where teams must share their work
Provide avenues for teams to review the work of other teams so they can get a sense of how they are doing relative to other teams
Make some class time available for group work
Move around the classroom and offer suggestions based on what you hear and observe
How you present or say something can be just as important as what you tell your students. They will listen if you gain their confidence. The goal is not to be something you are not: A university professor. You are instead a guide and a subject matter expert who can help them realize their career aspirations.
Model the behavior you would like to see
Students want to know that you care about them
Students respond positively when you bring good energy to class
Do not try to be something you are not
Allow your passions to come out
Remember, they are watching you. Think about how you sound, stand, and interact with them
Try to create a professional rather than a classroom environment
Set professional expectations for what will happen
If you don’t know something, tell them you can’t answer their question
Think about bringing in guest speakers to offer different perspectives
Speak from your own experience and emphasize things that you have learned over time
Explain why you are doing something they way you are doing it
Remind them what it will be like in the “real” world
Student guides are generally available for new faculty and those who are teaching remotely. Our guides are there to help you be successful. They are a great barometer that can gauge how well things are going and can be a great help in staging active learning experiences in the classroom.
Meet with your guide as soon as possible
Guides are your window into the minds of today’s college student
Guides can be especially helpful with the use of technology inside or outside the classroom
Your guide can answer your questions or can find out the answer for you
Guides are not graders, they are sounding boards, facilitators, and tech help
Use your guide to help position students for active learning
Make time to chat with your guide on a regular basis
Reach out to the head of the guide program or the BiP staff if you have any issues with your guide
All BiP courses are credit/fail. We wanted to keep the amount of time needing to spend grading to a minimum. However, some students are still very grade conscious and will be concerned about what it takes to pass and how they will be evaluated. The downside is that some students will take a credit/fail course less seriously than one that is graded.
Apply the same criteria as you would in a work environment to evaluate student performance
Find ways to recognize superior performance
Many of your students will wait until the last minute to complete an assignment
Try to strike a balance between treating them as students with an assignment due and as a young employee who needs to figure out how to get the job done.
Everyone should be treated the same and exceptions to due dates and policies should be given only in the most exceptional circumstances
Watch out for students “gaming” the system (trying to do as little as possible while meeting the requirements for the course)
Provide feedback as you would to a new team member or someone you’re mentoring
Set early expectations and review the 3rd class. Be clear about what is expected in order to pass.
Give a sample of what is good work (but don’t give it to them otherwise they will just copy it)
Make sure that students have an opportunity to realize they are not passing and then provide them with an opportunity to turn things around
Make tasks “complete” or “not-complete”, highlight and walk through good examples as well as show common errors/confusion
If work doesn’t meet the standard, boot it back with comments on how to improve or meet the standard.
“Call to the boss’s office”. If a student is not performing well, schedule a time to hear them out (we all face challenges at certain times) or call them out (you know they can do better, do they need extra support).
Performance review with each student or a whole team (gain feedback first > what do they think they’ve excelled, where do they need more support, how can the meet expectations better, what could the group be doing better, or if they are doing great….can you encourage them to help out teammates, engage in discussions more, should they look into a certain career path more?
BiP is more about the learning process than the content itself. Since students learn by doing, it is important that they receive feedback along the way so that they can make the adjustments needed to complete a project or make a positive contribution to class discussion.
Find opportunities to comment on work in progress
Often more than one student or team is making the same mistake
Develop moments to recognize outstanding work
Create opportunities to redo poor quality work
Team or class members can share in the feedback process
Dedicate class time for students to share their work in progress
Use something like ITP metrics for students to give team members feedback
Require that all work needs to be completed to pass the course and do not accept work that is below standard
Create opportunities for students to comment on each other’s work. Find a way to limit the number of other presentations they must look and comment on
Continuous Improvement Strategy
Your classroom experience can vary dramatically from one semester to the next. Much of your success will depend on the composition of the class. Things that resonated previously may not work with a different group of students. For those new to the program, even the best made plans may go awry. Rather than waiting to the end of the semester, you might want to consider making adjustments.
While the syllabus is a contract that states what is required to pass your course, you can make adjustments in topic coverage, content, or how you structure the time spent in class
If your examples do not resonate with your students, find out what they are interested in and see if you can make the necessary adjustment
If it seems like things are not going well, ask the class and get them involved in making changes
Talk to you students before or after class
Check posts or class discussion to gauge with your students get it
Use a Midsemester survey to gain feedback from the class
Rely on your guide for feedback and ask them to talk to members of the class
Ask BiP program administration for help
Record class and have someone with more experience look at it
First Class Strategy
The first day of class will set the tone for the rest of the semester. If you are teaching a 7 week course, you really need to hit the ground running. Regardless, it is your opportunity to set clear expectations and begin the process of community building. Our BiP courses are very different from core courses and some students will have already taken a BiP course while others might be taking one for the first time.
It is easier to loosen things up as time goes on rather than the reverse
A student that wants an exception to a rule will likely come back asking for more – so be careful.
We want you to set the tone for the course. That means bringing some of the culture from your current or previous work environments
While you may be new to teaching, you should express confidence in what you are doing and ask for help or guidance from staff or your students when in doubt
This is an opportunity for you to get your students excited about the course and for those who are not a good fit, to drop the course
Students are free to drop your course (and add if there is an empty seat) through the second week of classes.
Don’t forget that if you have a guide, they are there to help you navigate the ins and outs of your course
Share a bit about yourself and your previous work experience
Make sure you clearly explain what is required and how they will be evaluated
Emphasize that attendance is not optional
Provide an opportunity for students to interact with you and each other
Introduce your guide (if you have one) and explain their role in the course
Assign teams/roles and provide an opportunity for members to get to know each other
Provide an opportunity for someone from each team to speak to the entire class
Example 80 Minute class schedule (could be repeated or time extended for 170 minutes):
5 min*: recap or review/opinions of any pre-class work or assignments, or highlight any exceptional work you’ve been noticing or common stumbling blocks
10-15min: Lecture/Demo/Guest speaker
5 min: video/podcast or relate to work experience/industry norms
10-15 min: discussion (can break in to groups/teams to discuss as a group for 5-10, then ask one member of each group to share with everyone)
5 min: Activity intro – related to topic and what they will face in workplace [set the scenario, roles, and the task]
15-30 min: Active work on a project with teams (apply to the topic/scenario) – rotate talking with each group or team [Activity/exercise]
10-20min: Regroup – have teams share progress (point out good examples, share common questions/patterns that each group encountered) [Results]
5-10 min: recap/questions/assignment if ending the class or class breaktime**
*We recommend giving students light pre-class work so they have some introduction/knowledge base for topic when “walking” in; a brief article/blog, video, podcast episode to get them ready for what you’ll talk about in class.
**If a 3 hour course – Repeat or continue to work further as a team on project if it requires additional research or improving work after what was just shared
Continue to rotate among groups or have a group share as the have an interesting approach o hit a roadblock