Best Practices in Teaching and Learning

Successful teaching and learning flows from well-designed and planned instruction that prioritizes student engagement, access, and well-being. The sections below provide a number of resources and links that you will find helpful, in addition to ideas around professional development as an instructor. 

Our Instructional Associates can also assist you with mapping your course. A course map is a detailed outline of your course and an important tool in the course design process. A course map:

  • Helps you to organize the content of your course for effective teaching and learning;
  • Shows how you will construct and assess each of your course learning outcomes;
  • Helps you to plan how you will deliver your teaching and learning activities;
  • Follows a backward design model that explicitly connects learning outcomes, assessments, teaching and learning activities, and course content.

Additional Resources:

“Learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Your classroom community is made up of individuals with diverse identities, backgrounds, and experiences; the act of learning is intertwined with a variety of socioemotional influences.” When students feel that they are welcomed, respected, and included, they are more likely to engage in their learning and persist in their studies. Promoting a positive learning environment is the responsibility of all of us. Follow the links below for more information:

Engaging students in well-planned and authentic learning activities is key to the effective delivery of any class, whether online or face-to-face, synchronous or asynchronous. Ideally, learning activities should give students a chance to practice something they will eventually be assessed on, as well as provide an opportunity for reflection and feedback. Check out these resources for more information:

Student assessment is a critical aspect of the teaching and learning process. Assessment of learning can be either formative or summative. Formative assessments happen throughout the learning and give students and instructors valuable feedback about the learning that is taking place. Formative assessments can be graded or ungraded. Summative assessments allow instructors to determine overall student performance. Both types of assessment used together, in alignment with the learning objectives, will best support student outcomes. CTLR can assist you in designing an assessment plan for your class including formative and summative assessments, alternative assessments, and UDL principles.

Additional resources on assessment:

Setting up a classroom learning environment that is inclusive, engaging, student centered, and welcoming is the first and most important step in creating an effective learning space.  Your students will represent a group with diverse backgrounds, experiences, learning preferences, language skills, and cultures. At some point, you will need to facilitate a conversation on a controversial topic, navigate student behaviour concerns, or deal with inappropriate language/microaggressions. Use these resources to prepare yourself. 

Additional resources:

As with in-person classes, online instruction requires careful planning and execution. Both synchronous and asynchronous online classes should be well-designed to use technology in a way that engages and motivates students, while facilitating their learning and assessment. For example, one important design principle is balancing the three types of engagement in a blended/online environment: instructor to student, student to student, and student to content. Find out more below:

Multilingual students can be domestic or international, and they speak English alongside other languages. Teaching multilingual students involves strategies and practices tailored to support the varied needs of this diverse group of students, helping them to engage more fully in your class. Follow the link for some strategies and resources to help you work more effectively with multilingual learners.

Reflective practice is a crucial part of an instructor’s professional development. Regularly examining your own beliefs and teaching practices helps to ensure that the instructional decisions you make are in the best interests of your students. You can also collect formative feedback from students (for example, using the Moodle Feedback tool) early on or mid-term to find out how things are going and to adapt your teaching as the course goes on. Using self-assessment allows you to better serve the needs of your students and continue to develop your skills.