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Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education Implementation Ideas

The following ideas for implementing the seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education were obtained from the following sources.

    1) The first list was generated by the Teaching Excellence Center at Brigham Young University and published in a booklet for faculty. (contact Lynn Sorenson) BYU
    2) The second list was created at a work shop I facilitated for Norther Essex Community College's professional day on teaching and learning.  NECC
    3) The third list comes from an article provided by Dennis Congos, Supplemental Instruction (SI) coordinator, at the University of Central Florida SI
    4) The fourth list comes from an article by Chickering and Ehrmann on technology as a lever for implementing the 7 principles. TECHNOLOGY
     5) The fifth list comes from an article by Chickering and Gamson giving examples ( EXAMPLES
    6) The Knowledge Survey: A Tool for All Reasons by Edward Nuhfer, University of Colorado at Denver and Delores Knipp, United States Air Force Academy. a description of the knowledge survey is provided below SURVEY
     7)  Dr. James W. King, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has developed a combination list presenting ideas for the regular classroom and for distance education. His URL is    KING
     8) Seven Principles of Effective Teaching: A Practical Lens for Evaluating Online Courses by Charles Graham, Kursat Cagiltay, Byung-Ro Lim, Joni Craner and Thomas M. Duffy-  We, a team of five evaluators from Indiana University's Center for Research on Learning and Technology (CRLT), recently used these principles to evaluate four online courses in a professional school at a large Midwestern university.     DISTANCE EDUCATION

    9) Joseph R. Codde, Ph.D., Associate Professor,Director, Educational Technology Certificate Program, 440 Erickson Hall, Michigan State University  CODDE

    The implenentation ideas are folowed by responses from discussion list members to my question "How do you implement the 7 principles in classes, advising and your personal life."

I would love to hear your reaction to these suggestions. How do you implement the 7 principles in your teaching, advising, or other aspects of how you interact with students?

If you would like to suggest additions to any of the seven categories please email me at

1 Good practice encourages student faculty contact
   Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students' intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans.
2 good practice encourages cooperation among students
Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's own ideas and responding to others' reactions improves thinking and deepens understanding.
3. Good practice encourages active learning
Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.
4.Good practice gives prompt feedback
Knowing what you know and don't know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses. In getting started, students need help in assessing existing knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves
5. Good practice emphasizes time on task
Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. Learning to use one's time well is critical for students and professional alike. Students need help in learning effective time management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty. How an institution defines time expectations for students, faculty and administrators, and other professional staff can establish the basis for high performance for all.
6. Good practice communicates high expectations
Expect more and you will get it. High expectations are important for everyone-- for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations of themselves and make extra efforts.
7. good practice respects diverse talents and ways of learning
There are many roads to learning. People bring different talents and styles of learning to college. Brilliant students in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio. Students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well in theory. Students need to opportunity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learning in new ways that do not come so easily.

   SOURCE: Chickering, A.W., and Gamson, Z.F. (1991). Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Number 47, Fall 1991. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Good practice encourages student faculty contact

*Encourage students to drop by your office just to visit
*Share past experiences, attitudes and values with students
*Advise students about career opportunities in their major/field of study
*Attend events sponsored by student groups
*Work with student affairs staff on issues related to student extracurricular life and life outside of school
*Know you students by name within the first two weeks of the term
*Mae special efforts to be available to students of culture or race different from your own
*Serve as a mentor or informal advisor to students
*Take students to professional meetings or other events in your field
*Whenever there is a conflict on campus involving students, try to help its resolution

*Use email to communicate with your students
*Send a letter to your advisees inviting them to visit you informally or for registration
*Send a welcome letter to your students prior to class each semester
*Hold student conferences during the semester
*Talk to students individually during and after class and labs
*Ask student how they are doing from time to time
*Treat students like human beings with full real lives
*Hold convenient office hours
*Have the student introduce themselves to the class or use other warmup techniques
*Use free standing furniture to reconfigure the class for accessibility
*Bring humor to the classroom
*Encourage students to come for extra help to your office or learning labs
*ask student opinions about what is being presented or class procedures
*Encourage students to come in for feedback and evaluations on their exams
*Advise and participate in clubs and teams
*Devise activities for social interactions in and out of class
*Walk between classes with students
*Hold out of class review sessions
*Student orientations with faculty, academic and social

*Because SI leaders attend class and hold 3 or more SI sessions per week, there are many hours available
        for student-to-SI leader contact outside of class
*SI leaders model college level learning and success skills in SI sessions
*SI leaders often communicate values about education and strategies for success in college
*Information on using valuable campus services is commonly discussed
*Other behaviors modeled by SI leaders are to visit instructors and professors when there are questions or
        concerns about course materials
*SI participants are encouraged to attend problem sessions with graduate assistants and instructors
*SI leaders encourage students to join clubs and organizations in one's major and where there are faculty
        advisors and faculty participation

*Communication technologies that increase access to faculty members, help them share useful resources,
        and provide for joint problem solving and shared learning can usefully augment face-to-face contact in
        and outside of class meetings.
*By putting in place a more “distant” source of information and guidance for students, such technologies can
        strengthen faculty interactions with all students, but especially with shy students who are reluctant to
          ask questions or challenge the teacher directly.
*It is often easier to discuss values and personal concerns in writing than orally, since inadvertent or
        ambiguous nonverbal signals are not so dominant.
*As the number of commuting part-time students and adult learners increases, technologies provide
        opportunities for interaction not possible when students come to class and leave soon afterward to meet
        work or family  responsibilities.
*The biggest success story in this realm has been that of time-delayed (asynchronous) communication.

Traditionally, time-delayed communication took place in education through the exchange of homework, either in class or by mail (for more distant learners). Such time-delayed exchange was often a rather impoverished form of conversation, typically limited to three conversational turns:

   1.The instructor poses a question (a task).
   2.The student responds (with homework).
   3.The instructor responds some time later with comments and a grade.

The conversation often ends there; by the time the grade or comment is received, the course and student are off on new topics.

*Now, however, electronic mail, computer conferencing, and the World Wide Web increase opportunities for
        students and faculty to converse and exchange work much more speedily than before, and more
        thoughtfully and “safely” than when confronting each other in a classroom or faculty office.
*Total communication increases and, for many students, the result seems more intimate, protected, and
        convenient  than the more intimidating demands of face-to-face communication with faculty.
*Communication also is eased when student or instructor (or both) is not a native speaker of English; each
        party can take a bit more time to interpret what has been said and compose a response.
*With the new media, participation and contribution from diverse students become more equitable and

*Freshmen seminars on important topics, taught by senior faculty members, establish an early connection
        between students and faculty for many colleges and universities.
*The tenured faculty member who acts as a -master learner" in SUNY-Stony Brook's Federated Learning
        Communities becomes a role model for undergraduates.
*In the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, three
        out of four undergraduates join three-quarters of the faculty as junior research colleagues.

*Once students confront a knowledge survey and understand its use, students can more clearly see
        their need to seek help.
*A pre-course survey can also reveal which students have the most confidence with the material and
        which do not
*Such insights permit faculty to know something about each student and make them aware of each
        student’s possible needs for extra assistance before the class is even underway.
*Knowledge surveys also indicate which individual students really have the prerequisites needed to
        engage the challenges forthcoming in the course.

Regular Classroom
*Post office hours, open-door policy (with family's approval, publish home phone number)
*Personalize feedback on student assignment -Ask questions
*Solicit information from student
*Create campus "visibility"
*Use e-mail access
*Help students network with other faculty -Let them know of options, research, etc. of other faculty
*Require student to visit instructor
*Have regular hours, but vary within week -Have regular telephone hours
*Teacher can attend student events
*Stick around for after class conversations
*Learn students names
*Encourage frequent contacts
*Teacher: be early, stay after classes (if possible), maintain office hours, be immediate with your students,
know students names and a little about them (if possible)
*Student: ask questions, meet with teacher during office hours -Depends on size of class, but go to faculty
office -Meet with student one-on-one basis at least once out of the classroom
*Mentoring Program?

Distance Education
* "Chat time" online with faculty (at various times, scheduled weekly)
*Listservs for student to student contact
*phone bridge
*Picture of faculty/other students
*On site support person
*Telephone access if necessary
*Group work at distance site
*Call individuals by name
*Visit the distance sites
*Maintain eye contact with camera and local students
*Go to sight of distance students
*Question/answer period - periodically throughout class
*Site visit by faculty member once per semester
*e-mail (1 on 1 contact)


  • I make a point to talk with my students on a personal level and learn about their educational and career goals.
  • I seek out my students who seem to be having problems with the course or miss class frequently.
  • I advise my students about career opportunities in their major field.
  • I share my past experiences, attitudes, and values with students.
  • I know my students by name.
  • I make special efforts to be available to students of a culture or race different from my own.
  • I serve as a mentor and informal advisor to students.

2.  Good practice encourages cooperation among students

*Ask students to tell each other about their interests and backgrounds
*Encourage students to prepare together for classes or exams
*Encourage studnets to do projects together
*Ask students to evaluate each other's work
*Ask students to explain difficult ideas to each other
*Encourage students to praise each other for their accomplishments
*Ask students to discuss key concepts with other students whose backgrounds and viewpoints are
        different from their own
*Create "learning communities", study groups. or project teams within your courses
*Encourage students to join at least one campus organization
*Distribute performance criteria to students so that each person's grade is independent of those achieved by others

*Use peer critique and editing
*Have students refer to each other by name
*Use small group discussions to prepare students for whole group discussions
*Use collaborative projects in and out of class
*Peer evaluations/student comment sheets
*Group assignments for grades (extra credit, partial credit, quiz points)
*Rotate students when working in pairs or small groups
*Encourage the use of tutoring centers and peer tutoring
*Group presentations
*Case study analysis by groups followed by group presentations

*A key component of SI is the promotion of cooperation and collaboration among students to master course
*Students in SI sessions exchange information on building complete and accurate textbook and lecture
*Under the guidance of the SI leader, they also formulate potential exam questions and answers
*They build complete and accurate solutions to problems in quantitative classes
 *They learn how to self-test to identify what has been learned and what has not been learned before an
        exam is given when they can still do something about it.
*SI leaders are trained to create a climate in SI sessions wherein students feel safe and free to attempt
        answers  to  questions or solutions to problems and then draw upon the knowledge of peer attendees to
        evaluate and  check the accuracy and completeness of those attempts.
*Peers model thinking, reasoning, analyzing, organization, and problem solving skills upon which others may
        draw to increase understanding of subject matter and how to think about and learn that subject matter.
*SI leaders teach what students have to learn to learn what faculty has to teach.

*The increased opportunities for interaction with faculty noted above apply equally to communication with
        fellow students.
*Study groups, collaborative learning, group problem solving, and discussion of assignments can all be
        dramatically strengthened through communication tools that facilitate such activity.
*The extent to which computer-based tools encourage spontaneous student collaboration was one of the
        earliest surprises about computers.
*A clear advantage of email for today’s busy commuting students is that it opens up communication
        among classmates even when they are not physically together.

*Even in large lecture classes, students can learn from one another.
 *Learning groups are a common practice. Students are assigned to a group of five to seven other students,
        who meet regularly during class time throughout the term to solve problems set by the instructor.
*Learning communities are another popular way of getting students to work together. At Rollins College
        students take several courses together. The courses, on topics related to a common theme like science,
        technology and human values, are from different disciplines.
* Faculty teaching the courses coordinate with one another, and another faculty member called a -master
        learner" takes the courses with the students.
*Under the direction of the master learner, students run a seminar which helps them integrate ideas from
        the separate courses.
*Many colleges use peer tutors for students who need special help.

 *Knowledge surveys help to impart several of the five basic elements of cooperative learning
 *Individual accountability includes the critical ability of individuals to be able to accurately assess their
        own level of preparedness or lack thereof.
 *When a course has detailed disclosure, students more readily know when they have deficiencies,
        making them more receptive to engaging in positive interdependence, promotive interaction
        and group processing to overcome deficiencies
 *Pre-course knowledge survey results provide the information needed to form heterogeneous cooperative
        groups composed of members with known, varied abilities.

Regular Classroom
*Break up into small groups
*Leave hands-on activities
*Have discussions (small groups, pairs, ect.)
*Do creative things to show what was learned
          games (Jeopardy?)
*Keep people moving around from group to group/person to person
*Have activities and projects outside the classroom for group participation
*Have students share book reports or other class papers with each other
*Be "constructivist"
          Develop teams
          Use group activity
          Grade on a criteria based system (use a curve)
          Ask students to respond to other students' work
          Have students write together, group speeches, too!
          Peer tutoring
          Encourage students to study together
*Be open to another faculty person suggestions
*Teachers can model group process activities. Effective collaborative group work that helps students
            increase their understanding is not something they do automatically.
          asking questions
          listening behaviors
          model exchange processes
*Sharing ideas can increase learning due to exchanging of ideas
*The instructor can encourage students to answer each other's questions instead of answering them
*To implement this instructors can use group activities for collaborative learning

Distance Education
*Set up teams to interact via e-mail or phone bridges with enough people at each site
            (Each site could be a group)
*Post papers, ect...on Internet-students could respond to each other's work
*Work on group projects via phone/e-mail
*Team-teach courses
*Make it out to each distance sight and do some group activities so they are able to have direct contact
            with instructor as well
*Teleconferences for idea sharing
*Problem solving in groups (via e-mail, ect.)
*Visit with instructor to sites
*Have question and answer time
*Encourage site reports/activities to be shared
*Encourage activities/discussion (chat rooms)
*List serves/e-mail
*Have e-mail groups
*Have joint projects for students from different sites or from same sites
*Offer opportunities for student to interact with other students
*Offer students opportunities to express their own ideas
*If students are close enough geographically, sponsor a fair at the end of the semester where all the students could come  to demonstrate their project.


  • Beginning with the first class, I have students participate in activities that encourages them to get to know each other.
  • I use collaborative teaching and learning techniques.
  • I encourage students to participate in groups when preparing for exams and working on assignments.
  • I encourage students from different races and cultures to share their viewpoints on topics discussed in class.
  • I create "learning communities," study groups, and project teams within my courses.
  • I encourage students to join at least one organization on campus.
  • I distribute performance criteria to students so that each person's grade is independent of those achieved by others.

3. Good practice encourages active learning

*Ask students to present their work to the class
*Ask students to summarize similarities and differences among different theorists, research findings,
        or artistic works
*Ask students to relate outside events or activities to the subjects in the course
*ask students to undertake research or independent study
*Encourage students to challenge your ideas, the ideas of other students, or those presented in readings
        or other materials
*Give students concrete, real life situations to analyze
*Use simulations, role playing, or labs in your classes
*Encourage students to suggest new readings, research projects, field trips, or other activities
*Arrange field trips, volunteer activities, or internships related to the course with your students
*Carry out research projects with your students

*Use lab work and clinical opportunities
*Use in class free writing
*Reading from the literature
*Make use of bullitin board discussions and email
*Have students use journals on assignments and for communicating with the teacher
*Ask students to demonstrate problem solving strategies during class
*Encourage Q&A
*Inclass editing and writing
*Produce a class newspaper

*This is another strength of SI.  SI leaders do not relecture, ask, or answer content questions whereby
        students could passively sit and
*Students in SI sessions determine what is covered in these sessions.
*When a student poses a question or problem, SI leaders are trained to elicit attempts at answers and
        solutions from those present in the session.
*SI leaders will model this information on the board in a well-organized format as it is given.
*Students are encouraged to discuss and compose answers and solutions between themselves using, as a
        baseline, the information given in lectures and textbook assignments.
*SI leaders may then pose situations that require application of this knowledge to real life, subject-related
*SI leaders also elicit analogies from similar situations or actual life experiences to help with application,
        understanding, relevancy, and to enhance later recall

*The range of technologies that encourage active learning is staggering. Many fall into one of three categories:
        tools and resources for learning by doing, time-delayed exchange, and real-time conversation. Today, all
        three usually can be supported with “worldware,” i.e., software (such as word processors) originally
        developed for other purposes but now used for instruction, too.
*Apprentice-like learning has been supported by many traditional technologies: research libraries,
        laboratories, art and architectural studios, athletic fields.
*Newer technologies now can enrich and expand these opportunities.

*Active learning is encouraged in classes which use structured exercises, challenging discussions, team
        projects, and peer critiques.
*Active learning can also occur outside the classroom. There are thousands of internships, independent
        study and cooperative job programs across the country in all kinds of colleges and universities, in all
        kinds of fields, for all kinds of students.
*Students also can help design and teach courses or parts of courses. At Brown University faculty members
        and students design new courses on contemporary issues and universal themes; the students then help
        the professor as teaching assistants.
*At the State University of New York at Cortland, beginning students in a general chemistry lab work in
        small groups to design lab procedures rather than repeat pre-structured exercises.
*At the University of Michigan's Residential College, teams of students work with faculty members on a
        long term original research project in the social sciences.

*Surveys can be a powerful prompt for addressing high-level thinking. When students receive both
        good example items and a copy of Bloom’s taxonomy, they can make up their own new test
        questions for a unit
*Such questions will address the material and appropriately high Bloom levels.
*A simple assignment could be: “You already have seven questions on this unit in your knowledge
        survey. Address the material in the unit, use Bloom’s taxonomy, and see if you can produce
        seven good questions that are even more challenging.
*When students know the important concepts and outcomes desired in a unit lesson, groups can
        become resources, thus structuring peer teaching into a course while assuring quality outcomes.

Regular Classroom
*Set up problem solving activities in small groups and have each group discuss with class
*Use some of the same problems solving activities outside of the classroom and have students summarize
            experiences and solutions
*Journaling (reflective process)
*Assign projects with real life application for them to solve

Distance Education
*Interactive web page
*Debate on-line
*Application: observation/reflection/ journal
*Writing: discussion group via e-mail, chat rooms
*Journaling could be sent via e-mail
*Group like problem solving (e-mail)
*Utilize home/local experiences in teaching content to make subject matter relevant and something the
            student interacts with more often
*To "talk" about what students are learning, need to create communication/learning groups via e-mail,
            telephone, chat room, conferencing....weekly activity


4.Good practice gives prompt feedback

*Give frequest quizzes and homework assignments to help student monitor their progress
*Prepare classroom exercises and problems which give student immediate feedback on how well they do.
*Return examinations and papers within a week if not sooner
*Give students detailed evaluations of their work early in the term
*Ask students to schedule conferences with you to discuss their progress
*Give students written comments on their strengths and weaknesses on exams and papers
*Give students a pretest at the beginning of each course
*Ask students to keep logs or records of their progress
*be available to discuss the results of the final exam with your students at the end of the semester
*Call or write a note or email students who miss classes

*Verbal feedback during and after class
*Email students about various aspects of the class
*Daily reading and quizzes
*Feedback and review right after an exam
*Have students work problems together
*Self evaluations
*midterm assessment
*Updates on current averages in class
*Individualized work
*In class editing
*Students defend ideas in class
*Encourage drafts of writing
*Many exercises or problems

*Because students collaborate in SI to pool knowledge on course content and ways to understand, learn, and
        remember that content, there is constant self-assessment and feedback on one’s understanding of
        subject matter and the learning skills essential for mastering that subject matter.
*On a regular basis, SI leaders may give sample tests over material that could appear on a future exam.  *Sometimes SI leaders make up questions but even better is having SI participants do the thinking,
        reasoning, analyzing, and organizing to formulate potential exam questions.
*When SI attendees finish a sample test, complete and accurate answers are built on the board along with
        where in the lecture or the textbook the information came from.
*Effective and ineffective study skills are identified and the ineffective ones discussed and replaced using
        information from SI leaders or other SI attendees.  This activity provides early and regular assessment
        on competence with learning skills and mastery of course content.  I
*In addition, SI leaders may model a technique or distribute a handout and discuss methods whereby
        students can identify what it is they have learned and not yet learned before a test when they may still
        do something about it.  This proactive feedback technique is called the Self-testing Concept.
*Another practice where SI gives early feedback on content mastery and effective skills for learning is via
        a post-test survey.  After a test is returned, SI leaders are trained to go over an exam with students to
        identify which answers were correct and connect this with study skills that worked.
*However, it is even more important to identify answers that were partially or completely incorrect and
        connect them with study skills that obviously did not work so that they may be modified or replaced with
        more effective study skills.
*This reflection focuses on assessing skills for learning at a time when these skills may be modified and
        refine in preparation for the next exam.
*SI leaders are trained to have SI attendees exchange information on personal study skills that worked and
        did not work along with reasons why.

*The use of email for supporting person-to-person feedback, for example, and the feedback inherent
        in simulations.
*Computers also have a growing role in recording and analyzing personal and professional performances.
*Teachers can use technology to provide critical observations for an apprentice; for example, video to help
        a novice teacher, actor, or athlete critique his or her own performance.
*Faculty (or other students) can react to a writer’s draft using the “hidden text” option available in word
        processors: Turned on, the “hidden” comments spring up; turned off, the comments recede and
        the writer’s prized work is again free of “red ink.”
*As we move toward portfolio evaluation strategies, computers can provide rich storage and easy access to
        student products and performances.
*Computers can keep track of early efforts, so instructors and students can see the extent to which later
        efforts demonstrate gains in knowledge, competence, or other valued outcomes.
*Performances that are time-consuming and expensive to record and evaluate — such as leadership skills,
        group process management, or multicultural interactions — can be elicited and stored, not only for
        ongoing critique but also as a record of growing capacity.

*No feedback can occur without assessment. But assessment without timely feedback contributes little to
*Colleges assess students as they enter in order to guide them in planning their studies.
*In addition to the feedback they receive from course instructors, students in many colleges and universities
        receive counseling periodically in their progress and future plans.
*Alverno College requires that students develop high levels of performance in eight general abilities such
        as analytic abilities and communication skills. Performance is assessed and then discussed with students
        at each level for each ability in a variety of ways and by a variety of assessors.
*In writing courses across the country, students are learning through detailed feedback from instructors and
        fellow students to revise and rewrite drafts. They learn, in the process, that feedback is central to
        learnin and improving performance.

*When a detailed knowledge survey is furnished, it allows students to monitor their progress through
        the course.
*One of the first signs that an instructor has produced a survey of good quality is a query from a
        student: “Will I really be able to learn all these new things?”
*Prompt feedback delivered by a survey is the students’ own continuous tracking of knowledge gains
        as the course unfolds.
*When students can create their original test questions that address the material at a respectable
        level of thinking, they have reached what probably constitutes adequate preparation and understanding.
*If any student must be absent, the survey immediately discloses the material missed and reveals to
        an extent the work required to master it.

Regular Classroom
*Personal needs assessment by student and faculty person
*Provide constructive criticism when necessary, but provide praise/input as often as possible.
*Provide ways to competency validate through testing, and discussion. Use hands-on techniques and some
            group work as necessary
*Vary assessment techniques (writing, speaking.....)
*Journaling exercise
*Question and answer sessions
*Small groups sharing
*Evaluation at start and end
*Reports/Assignments (daily?)
*Relating to life experiences

Distance Education
*Chat group with office hours where the instructor is present
*A student chat group could be used for various assignments or collaborations Have some kind of testing
            activity on the class info page
*Feedback forms on web site
*Small group sessions
*Question and answer groups
*Use of e-mail for sharing/discussing
*Telephone conferences for discussion
*Could use journals -not on weekly basis perhaps
*Needs assessment pre-class and post-class assessments


  • I give students immediate feedback on class activities.
  • I return exams and papers within one week.
  • I give students evaluations of their work throughout the semester.
  • I give my students written comments on their strengths and weaknesses on class assignments.
  • I discuss the results of class assignments and exams with students and the class.

5. Good practice emphasizes time on task

*Expect your students to complete their assignments promptly
*Clearly communicate to your students the minimum amount of time they should spend preparing for classes
*Make clear to your students the amount of time that is required to understand complex material
*Help students set challenging goals for their own learning
*When oral reparts or class presentations are called for, encourage students to rehearse in advance
*Underscore the importance of regular work, steady application, sound self-pacing, and scheduling
*Explain to your students the consequences of non-attendance
*Make it clear that full time study is a full time job that requires forty or more hours a week
*Meet with your students who fall behind to discuss their study habits, schedules, and other commitments
*If studnets miss your classes, require them to make up the work

*Use timed writing in class
*Have inclass timed discussions
*Start and end class on time
*Try to keep class and clinical as productive as possible
*Take home exams and assignments have a set due date
*Work with students on time management
*Have students discuss their linitatiioins on time in small groups and with the whole class
*Stress homework

*SI provides an excellent vehicle for helping students realize the significant commitment in time that they
        must invest to be successful in college.
*SI leaders are successful students who must meet a GPA criteria of 3.0 and have earned a grade of A or B
        in the class for which they are leading SI sessions.  Therefore, SI leaders are a resource for how much
        time they spend on learning tasks and are trained how model personal learning skills and success
        techniques when asked or when it seems appropriate and helpful to students.
*SI leaders may distribute a handout on time management detailing the time commitment needed to do the
        job as a college student.  This often prompts mutual self-help exchanges of time organization techniques
        among SI attendees
*SI leaders may also have access to a learning skills library for more information on time management and
        college level study skills.
*Many campus have a learning skills professional  available from whom SI leaders could get more learning
        skills information or to use as a referral resource for students to acquire assistance on effective
        time organization in college.

*Technology also can increase time on task by making studying more efficient.
*Teaching strategies that help students learn at home or work can save hours otherwise spent commuting to
        and from campus, finding parking places, and so on.
*Time efficiency also increases when interactions between teacher and students, and among students, fit
        busy  work and home schedules.
*Students and faculty alike make better use of time when they can get access to important resources for
        learninG without trudging to the library, flipping through card files, scanning microfilm and microfiche,
        and scrounging the reference room.
*For faculty members interested in classroom research, computers can record student participation and
        interaction and help document student time on task, especially as related to student performance.

*Mastery learning, contract learning, and computer assisted instruction require that students spend
        adequate amounts of time on learning.
*Extended periods of preparation for college also give students more time on task.
*Matteo Ricci College guides high school students from the ninth grade to a B.A in six years through a
        curriculum taught jointly by faculty at Seattle Preparatory School and Seattle University.
*Providing students with opportunities to integrate their studies into the rest of their lives helps them
          use time well.
*Workshops, intensive residential programs, combinations of televised instruction, correspondence study,
        and learning centers are all being used in a variety of institutions, especially those with many part-time
*Weekend colleges and summer residential programs, courses offered at work sites and community centers,
        clusters of courses on related topics taught in the same time block, and double-credit courses make
        more time for learning.
*At Empire State College, for example, students design degree Programs organized in manageable time
        blocks; students may take courses in nearby institutions, pursue independent studies, or work with
        faculty and other students at Empire State learning centers.

*Full disclosure at the start of a course allows timely planning and study.
*A review sheet given out before an exam will not reveal to students what they do not know in a
        timely manner, and it will promote mere cramming rather than planned learning.
*Faculty who plan courses well and disclose them at the detail of a knowledge survey, quickly discover
        that the survey keeps them honest.
*When a class inadvertently strays off track, knowledge surveys reveal whether straying resulted in
        any important omissions.
*Surveys also require students to engage material repeatedly. Some of the earliest research on
        cognition deduced the benefits of time spent in repetition to learning. The use of knowledge
        surveys ensures at least two additional structured engagements with the entire course material.

Regular Classroom
*List the job expectations of the instructor so that person can view what is expected of them.
*Assign what you think are realistic time values for each item. -If the total time equals greater than the
        time you have, adjust accordingly
*Be careful that time or task is real learning not busy work
*Do not use technology for technology's sake, it must be relevant to topic and useful
*Progressive deadlines for project/assignments
*Many instructions establish "rules" -1 hour of lecture equals 2 hours of outside homework
*As an aspect of instruction, teach time management -With good organization of subject materials,
            assignments to be completed more timely and more completely
*Realistic expectations means you don't expect10 papers in 10 weeks

Distance Education
*Proper planning means pretty good performance! -Make sure you know what your goals are and that the
            learners understand them as well.
*Understand that there will be problems with the distance and technology along the way
*Each distance class should involve some sort of time-achievement expectation that is laid out at the
            beginning of the course -Assign some content for out of class
*Consider both in and out of class time
*Encourage learners to participate in the time issue... Ask: we have 10/20 minutes left, what do you want to
            do with it?
*Use help...facilitator, technician, decision. Consider team approach and give up illusion of "doing it all,"
            as one might in regular classroom
*Identify key concepts and how those will be taught. Given set amount of time, what can realistically be
*In creating inter-active learning environment it can be overwhelming to both the students and the teacher
            if the types of interaction required are too time consuming. Keep it realistic!
*Vary the types of interaction!


  • I expect my students to complete their assignments promptly.
  • I clearly communicate to my students the minimum amount of time they should spend preparing for class and working on assignments.
  • I help students set challenging goals for their own learning.
  • I encourage students to prepare in advance for oral presentations.
  • I explain to my students the consequences of non-attendance.
  • I meet with students who fall behind to discuss their study habits, schedules, and other commitments.
  • If students miss my class, I require them to make up lost work.

6. Good practice communicates high expectations

*Tell your students you expect them to work hard in your classes
*Emphasize the importance of holding high standards for academic achievement
*Make clear your expectations orally and in writing and the beginning of each course
*Help students set challenging goals for their own learning
*Explain to students what will happen if they do not complete their work on time
*Suggest extra reading or writing tasks
*Encourage students to write a lot
*Publicly call attention to excellent performance by your studnets
*Revise your courses
*Periodically discuss how well the class is doing during the course of the semester

*Expect students to be on time
*Demonstrate a can do attitude
*Require revision of writing
*Clarify the course objective on your syllabus
*Set personal expectations high and give your students examples
*Give many problems worth small amounts each
*Constantly encourage students to try to do better (without exceeding their abilities)
*Don't take no for an answer
*Set up study guidelines
*Use of a mastery approach with a high minimum

*A major focus an SI program is, while enabling, facilitating collaboration, and modeling effective study
        behaviors, SI leaders expect students to refine their abilities to understand, learn, remember, and
        apply knowledge from courses.
*A major goal of SI is to help students rise to meet and exceed the expectations of professors.
*Expectations for student behavior in SI sessions are high, also.  Students are expected to attend SI session
        prepared by having read textbook assignments, attempted homework, and formulated questions that
        address individual needs for study skills and course content information.
*SI leaders expect students to want to do well in the SI course and their other courses.
*Students are expected to do the thinking, reasoning, analyzing, organizing, and applying of course
        information within the bounds of lecture and textbook information.
*Students in SI sessions see SI leaders as students like themselves who have met high academic
        expectations and succeeded.  The next logical though for student may be, “So then can I.”

*Significant real-life problems, conflicting perspectives, or paradoxical data sets can set powerful learning
        challenges that drive students to not only acquire information but sharpen their cognitive skills of
        analysis, synthesis, application, and evaluation.
*Many faculty report that students feel stimulated by knowing their finished work will be “published” on the
        World Wide Web.
*With technology, criteria for evaluating products and performances can be more clearly articulated by the
        teacher, or generated collaboratively with students. General criteria can be illustrated with samples of
        excellent, average, mediocre, and faulty performance

*The University of Wisconsin -Parkside communicates high expectations for under prepared high school
        students by bringing them to the university for workshops in academic subjects, study skills, test taking
        and time - management
*In order to reinforce high expectations, the program involves parents and high school counselors.
*The University of California at Berkeley has an honors program in the sciences for under prepared
        minority students.
* Special programs like these help. But most important are the day-to-day, week-in and week-out
        expectations students and faculty hold for themselves and for each other in all their classes.

*Students sometimes complain that instructors teach at one level and test at a more challenging level.
        Knowledge surveys offer the opportunity to detail, in a timely manner, the level of challenge
        that students should expect.
*The materials needed to build a rudimentary knowledge survey already reside in most professors’
        computers—in the past examinations, quizzes, and review sheets they provided the last time they
        taught the course. The only work required is to arrange items from these in the order of course
*Students appreciate the focus that a knowledge survey brings to the study process, and they will rise
        to expectations conveyed in a survey, particularly if instructors assert that some of the higher-level
        items will likely appear on a final exam.

Regular Classroom
*Contract -outlining grading scheme
*Provide lots of variation and challenging aspects to content
*Be organized as an instructor; pay attention to details
*Be energized and enthusiastic; interaction
*Range of testing questions
*Expect students participation -active learning, not passive, stressed
*Be prepared

Distance Education
*Clearly stated course syllabus
*Provide "stellar" examples (of past student project, for example) for students to refer to
*Work on climate setting-role modeling
*Provide corrective feedback -state what you liked/didn't
*Ask student to comment on what they are doing
*Expect student to participate
*Celebrate in-class success -name student or group
*Suggest extra readings/ect. which support key points
*Try to make the assignments interesting to create interest


  • I encourage students to excel at the work they do.
  • I give students positive reinforcement for doing exemplary work.
  • I encourage students to work hard in class.
  • I tell students that everyone works at different levels and they should strive to put forth their best effort, regardless of what level that is.
  • I help students set challenging goals for their own learning.
  • I publicly call attention to excellent performance by students.
  • I revise my courses to challenge students and encourage high performance.
  • I work individually with students who are poor performers to encourage higher levels of performance.
  • I encourage students not to focus on grades, but rather on putting for their best effort

7. good practice respects diverse talents and ways of learning

*Encourage students to speak up when they don't understand
*Discourage snide remarks, sarcasm, kidding and other class behaviors that may embarrass students
*Use diverse teaching activities to address a broad spectrum of students
*Select reading and design activities that relate to the backgrouns of your students
*Provide extra materials or exercises for students who lack essential background knowledge or skills
*Integrate new knowledge about women and other under-represented populations into your courses
*Make explicit provisions for studnets who wish to carry out independent studies within your course as as
        seperate courses
*Develop mastery learning contracts or computer assisted learning alternatives for your courses
*Encourage your students to design their own majors when their interests warrant doing so
*Try to fins out about your students' learning styles, interests, or backgrounds at the beginning of each course

*Use different activities in class- videos, discussion, lecture, groups, pairs etc.
*Use mind mapping for visual presentations
*Full group discussion following small group discussion
*Use hands on activities such as work sheets
*Encourage the use of email or bulletin boards
*Value every answer and find some relevance to encourage participation
*Learning accomodations- visual, hearing aids etc.
*Use different assessment methods- written, oral, projetcs, etc.

*Students in SI sessions are free to participate according to their individual assets such as previous
        knowledge base, current state of skills for learning, special methods and techniques for learning, talent
        for innovations, and ability to explain concepts and ideas well.
*No one is singled out and made to do something with which they would be uncomfortable.
*Those willing to demonstrate talents such as convert information from theory to practice or from practice to
        theory are encouraged to demonstrate these talents for others to see and benefit.
*This non-directive exposure to other ways of thinking and performing learning tasks provide a virtual
        cafeteria of ideas and skills from which student may select new and better ways to learn and master
        course content.
*In this manner students are not pushed or coerced to refine learning abilities.  Yet, the considerable SI
        leader-to-student or student-to-student power inherent in statements such as “this is what I do” is an
        enormous and potentially beneficial encouragement to experiment with new ways to refine existing skills
        to master course content.

*Technological resources can ask for different methods of learning through powerful visuals and
        well-organized print; through direct, vicarious, and virtual experiences; and through tasks requiring
        analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, with applications to real-life situations.
*They can encourage self-reflection and self-evaluation. They can drive collaboration and group problem
        solving. Technologies can help students learn in ways they find most effective and broaden their
        repertoire for learning.
*They can supply structure for students who need it and leave assignments more open-ended for students
        who don’t.
*Fast, bright students can move quickly through materials they master easily and go on to more difficult
        tasks; slower students can take more time and get more feedback and direct help from teachers and
        fellow students. *Aided by technologies, students with similar motives and talents can work in cohort
        study groups without constraints of time and place.

*Individualized degree programs recognize different interests.
*Personalized systems of instruction and mastery learning let students work at their own pace.
*Contract learning helps students define their own objectives, determine the learning activities, define
the criteria and methods of evaluation.

*At the College of Public and Community Service, a college for older working adults at the University of
        Massachusetts-Boston, incoming students take an orientation course that encourages them to reflect
        on their learning styles.
*At the University of California at Irvine, introductory physics students may choose between a
        lecture-and-textbook course, a computer-based version of the lecture-and-textbook course, or
        a computer-based course based on notes developed by the faculty which allow students to program
        the computer.
*In both computer-based courses, students work on their own and must pass mastery exams.

*One of the best ways to address diverse learners is to be certain to present and engage materials
        in a variety of ways, in particular ways that make sense in terms of how the brain operates in
        the learning process
*When one actually has a blueprint of content and levels of thinking that one wants to present, it
        quickly allows one to ask “What is the best way to present this item, then the following item?”
        Without such a plan, one can too easily end up lecturing through the entire course, even when
        the desired outcomes literally scream for alternative methods.
*A detailed plan of outcomes will obviate a correlative plan for reaching

Regular Classroom
*Utilize multimedia presentations
*Consider field trips -outside of the classroom activities
*Change delivery methods frequently
*Identify within each lesson; a variety of learning opportunities. Engage as many ways of learning as
            possible. Visual, kinesthetic, auditory and so on
*Give students a problem to solve that has multiple solutions. -Provide examples, guide them.
*Let them decide on a strategy that best fits how they learn.

Distance Education
*In a distance setting laboratory experiences can be provided by contracting with local high schools or
            community colleges to provide a Saturday lab experience
*Some CD-Rom's that are available provide a simulated lab -such as anatomy, Myers-Briggs type of
            learning style
*Balance classroom activities for all styles (some books, some hands on, some visual)
*Explain theory from "practical approach" first, then add the structural approach


  • I encourage students to speak up when they do not understand.
  • I use diverse teaching activities and techniques to address a broad range of students.
  • I select readings and design activities related to the background of my students.
  • I provide extra material or activities for students who lack essential background knowledge or skills.
  • I integrate new knowledge about women, minorities, and other under-represented populations into my courses.
  • I have developed and use learning contracts and other activities to provide students with learning alternatives for my courses.
  • I encourage students from different races and cultures to share their viewpoints on topics discussed in class.
  • I use collaborative teaching and learning techniques and pair students with lesser abilities with students with greater abilities.


Winona State University

Principle 1:

Encourages student-faculty contact.

Student motivation and involvement result from frequent student-faculty contact, in classes as well as beyond the classroom walls. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times so they can keep working toward their goals. Students who know a few faculty members closely can enjoy increased intellectual commitment and an enhanced opportunity to explore their values and future plans.

Example: The Residential College of WSU creates a living-and-learning environment beyond the classroom. Instructors and students form a learning partnership in a supportive atmosphere.

Located at Lourdes Hall, or the "West Campus," 12 blocks from the main campus in Winona, the Residential College houses 400 students in large rooms, mostly single accommodations. Living there compares to attending a private school where first-year students through seniors participate in social and cultural activities and enjoy a closer relationship with faculty and advisors.

The academic mix of the Residential College includes a freshman seminar, sophomore common reading seminar, junior on-site volunteer coordination group, senior capstone seminar, and an in-resident program with prominent scholars or artists participating with students in an array of shared experiences. Residential College faculty are located at Lourdes Hall and hold office hours there.

Studies are enhanced through consistent use of forums, discussion groups, world forum dinners, newsletters, tutors, seminar rooms, computer facilities, reading and study rooms, field trips, guest scholars, and intensive advising from faculty as well as peers.

Principle 2:

Encourages cooperation among students.

A team effort to learning establishes a cooperative environment and increases student involvement in their own learning. Meaningful learning grows from collaborative and social techniques, rather than competitive and isolated ones. The sharing of ideas, and discussing them, creates the opportunity for improved thinking and deepens understanding.

Example: Establishing effective group learning goes beyond "study groups." It must create positive interdependence and demand individual accountability of students. Self-evaluation methods as well as peer evaluations form a major component of the "cooperative learning community" established in upper division courses in the College of Education at Winona State.

Students in these collaborative learning groups work individually to learn concepts then teach it to others. Each member of the group is responsible for his or her own learning, sharing it with others, and learning what others are teaching. Group exams reflect the combined effort of the entire group and one grade is given on selected projects.

While the opportunity exists for personal creativity and accomplishment, the outcome depends on the entire team doing well - - just as it would be in an actual setting for the overall reputation and effectiveness of a school.

Principle 3:

Encourages active learning.

Learning must not be treated like a spectator sport. Students learn more by going beyond taking lecture notes and memorizing pre-packaged information to be regenerated on an exam. They must talk about their learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences and apply it to their daily lives. They must be able to make what they learn an indispensable part of them to take valuable skills and knowledge into the workplace and career pursuits.

Example: Internships and field work represent active learning as do the site-based experiences required of all students in the College of Nursing. Winona State has affiliations with two of the most prestigious health care organizations in the country -- The Mayo Clinic based in Rochester and Gundersen Lutheran Health Care Systems based in La Crosse, Wis., where students interact with working professionals and patients directly in the health care setting.

These experiences put student nurses where the patients are including their homes, hospitals, long term care facilities and schools.

Students work directly with clients in a variety of age groups including infants, school age children, adults and elderly. On-site settings include public health services where student nurses gain practical knowledge, and elementary schools where they conduct vision and hearing screenings. In some instances, clients require in-home health care services.

These site-based educational experiences comprise a vital part of the student nurses’career preparation.

Principle 4:

Gives prompt feedback.

Students need appropriate and timely feedback on performance to get the maximum benefit from their education. They need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement, and they need to learn how to assess and evaluate their own learning and competency progress.

Example: Students in marketing classes in the College of Business use a computer network and laptop units to complete assignments and turn them into the instructor(s) via Email. The instructor responds to the assignments within 24 hours of the deadline allowing the students a quick turnaround time for evaluation and improvement.

This system allows the students to complete work anytime their schedule permits and turn it in at the push of a button, even in the middle of the night, rather than having to deliver hard copies to an office site by a prescribed time. It also allows the instructor closer monitoring to track student work and measure progress.

Principle 5:

Emphasizes time on task.

The basis for high performance lies in how an institution defines time expectations for students, faculty, administrators and other professional staff. Allocating realistic amounts of time builds effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty.

Learning to use time productively establishes time management skills - - a valuable tool for students and professionals alike.

Computer assisted instruction, mastery learning, and contract learning are methods for requiring additional time outside the classroom beyond note-taking and textbook reading.

Example: The Electronic Technology Center located in Stark Hall features a multi-media learning opportunity for students and faculty. Working with computers and other peripherals, students receive a "built-in" requirement to spend time learning the equipment as well as its applications in the sciences and other disciplines.

Principle 6:

Communicates high expectations.

Raising admission standards at Winona State effectively raised the level of academic performance of students over the past five years. High admission standards contribute to the overall philosophy of "high expectation equals quality education" for students.

Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations of themselves and make extra efforts. Setting appropriate goals contributes to successful learning for the poorly prepared as well as for the bright and well motivated.

Faculty and students alike must constantly focus on the importance of a high quality education through continual high expectations.

Example: The Honors Program at Winona State aims at the development of high potential students. Faculty and students form a community of learning in a program consisting of courses in an interdisciplinary focus in humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.

Small class sizes in the Honors Program increase learning through participation and discussion, as well as integration of knowledge from multiple sources. Students complete core courses, special seminars, designated "H" courses in their majors, and a senior project.

Some academic departments at Winona State provide their own Departmental Honors programs for upper-level majors. These include biology, computer science, English, geology, physics, mathematics, psychology, and nursing.

Principle 7:

Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.

In addition to seeking and celebrating cultural diversity, Winona State appreciates and recognizes individuality. The entire university community represents many different talents and styles of living and learning in the higher education venue.

Students need the opportunity to showcase their talents and learn in ways that work for them. They also need to be nudged into learning new ways that might not come so easily. This can be seen in the student who might be brilliant in the seminar but all-thumbs in the lab or studio, and a student rich in hands-on experience who struggles with theory. Both need to expand their learning style inventory to include experimenting with different methods.

Likewise, many educators bring individual styles and methods for teaching and sharing.

Everyone can learn from each other by expanding horizons. enriching personal experiences, and enhancing educational opportunities.

Example: A widely-diverse community such as a university presents abundant opportunities for cultural and educational enrichment. Winona State capitalizes on its rich diversity in a variety of ways such as:

Individualized degree programs at Winona State recognize the different interests and can personalize systems of instruction and mastery learning.

Independent Study courses allow students to explore new ways of learning and design their own journey of knowledge.

Adult Entry programs allow non-traditional students the opportunity to receive credit for professional experience that translates to actual course work.

Extension courses expand the boundaries of campus and provide outreach courses to students working toward degrees as well as professionals seeking additional knowledge.

Everyone bears (and shares) the responsibility for principles

While teachers and students hold the main responsibility for quality in undergraduate education, they cannot make it work by themselves. College and university leaders and administrators, state and federal officials, and accrediting associations must provide the power to help shape an environment for successful execution of the Seven Principles. This environment needs to include these elements:

a strong sense of shared purposes,

concrete support from administration and faculty leaders for those purposes,

adequate funding appropriate for the purposes,

policies and procedures consistent with the purposes, and

continuing examination of achieving the purposes.

Evidence abounds that an environment such as this can be created effectively. Each of these crucial elements depends on one inherent characteristic: the allocation of appropriate resources.

Adequate resources assure faculty, administrators and students the opportunity to reflect and celebrate on their shared purposes. Faculty receive support and release time for appropriate professional development. Criteria for hiring and promoting faculty, administration and staff support the purposes. Advising becomes an important aspect of student development. Departments, programs and class-size allow faculty and students to have a sense of community, to experience the value of their contributions, and to confront the consequences of their failures.

The state and federal governments as well as accrediting associations influence the proper environment through financial support and appropriate funding. They can influence the establishment of the Seven Principles by encouraging sound planning, setting priorities, mandating standards, and reviewing and approving programs. Regional and professional accrediting associations require self-study and peer review in making judgments about programs and institutions.

These sources of support and influence can encourage a supportive environment for the Seven Principles by:

setting policies consistent with good practice in undergraduate education,

holding high expectations for institutional performance,

keeping bureaucratic regulations to a minimum while still satisfying public accountability,

allocating adequate funds for new undergraduate programs and faculty professional development, administrators and staff,

encouraging employment of under-represented groups among administrators, faculty, and Students professionals,

providing support for programs, facilities and financial aid necessary for achieving the Seven Principles.

Using the Seven Principles as a pedagogical model at WSU forms a solid basis for the philosophies and activities leading to quality education. The principles help drive the pursuit of the Mission of WSU while providing useful guidelines for assessing and evaluating every aspect of work performed toward the goals set for students, faculty, administration and staff.

End of Navigation

Abstracted from:
The Knowledge Survey: A Tool for All Reasons
Edward Nuhfer, University of Colorado at Denver
Delores Knipp, United States Air Force Academy.

Knowledge surveys provide a means to assess changes in specific content learning and intellectual development. More importantly, they promote student learning by improving course organization and planning. For instructors, the tool establishes a high degree of instructional alignment, and, if properly used, can ensure employment of all seven “best practices” during the enactment of the course. Beyond increasing success of individual courses, knowledge surveys inform curriculum development to better achieve, improve and document program success.

A survey consists of course learning objectives framed as questions that test mastery of particular objectives. Students address the questions, not by providing actual answers, but instead by responding to a three-point rating of one’s own confidence to respond with competence to each query. Knowledge surveys differ from pre-test—post-test evaluations because tests, by their nature, can address only a limited sampling of a course. In contrast, knowledge surveys cover an entire course in depth. While no student could possibly allocate the time to answer all questions on a thorough knowledge survey in any single exam sitting, they can rate their confidence to provide answers to an extensive survey of items in a very short time span. Sequence of items in the survey follows the sequence in which the instructor presents the course material. Knowledge surveys pre-dispose a class to making use of all seven principles.

Does the course design fulfill the Seven Principles of Good Practice?

 The article Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education was first published by the American Association for Higher Education in 1987. The principles were derived from decades of research findings on the undergraduate learning experience. Since then, several hundred thousand copies of the principles have been distributed to campuses throughout North America.

 The article Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever discusses the principles in the context of distributed learning environments. The following questions are adapted from this article and may be used to evaluate the quality of the learning environment. Read over the questions to determine if your curriculum plan accommodates the seven principles of good practice.

      1.  In what ways does the course design encourage contact between the students and the instructor?

      2.  How does the learning environment foster reciprocity and cooperation among students?

      3.  In what ways is active involvement of the students  facilitated throughout the course?

      4.  How are students given prompt feedback for learning activities?

      5.  Is the course organized so that students and the  instructor use their time efficiently and effectively while
      focusing on the learning objectives?

      6.  How does the course design communicate high  expectations?

      7.  How will the learning environment be structured to  accommodate diverse talents and ways of learning?

Implementing the Seven Principles:  Technology as Lever
by Arthur W. Chickering and Stephen C. Ehrmann

In March 1987, the AAHE Bulletin first published “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.” With support from Lilly Endowment, that document was followed by a Seven Principles Faculty Inventory and an Institutional Inventory (Johnson Foundation, 1989) and by a Student Inventory (1990). The Principles, created by Art Chickering and Zelda Gamson with help from higher education colleagues, AAHE, and the Education Commission of the States, with support from the Johnson Foundation, distilled findings from decades of research on the undergraduate experience.

Several hundred thousand copies of the Principles and Inventories have been distributed on two- and four-year campuses in the United States and Canada. (Copies are available at cost from the Seven Principles Resource Center, Winona State University, PO Box 5838, Winona, MN 55987-5838; ph 507/457-5020.) — Eds.

Since the Seven Principles of Good Practice were created in 1987, new communication and information technologies have become major resources for teaching and learning in higher education. If the power of the new technologies is to be fully realized, they should be employed in ways consistent with the Seven Principles. Such technologies are tools with multiple capabilities; it is misleading to make assertions like “Microcomputers will empower students” because that is only one way in which computers might be used.

Any given instructional strategy can be supported by a number of contrasting technologies (old and new), just as any given technology might support different instructional strategies. But for any given instructional strategy, some technologies are better than others: Better to turn a screw with a screwdriver than a hammer — a dime may also do the trick, but a screwdriver is usually better.
  Seven principles Responses from Internet Discussion Groups

 Monica Clyde <>

I would like to respond (I am only sending it to you)  to your recent posting to the POD list regarding a discussion series you want to start based on the Seven Principles.  I am interested because I have been thinking of something like that at Saint Mary's College of California where I am Director for Faculty Development.

I have recently been rereading K. Patricia Cross' speech that she gave at the 1998 AAHE conference in Boston on"What do we know about students' learning, and how do we know it?"   Cross, in her conclusion, says something that I find more challenging than asking people to list how they implement these principles.  The list that BYU offers does not contain anything that would come as a revelation to anyone who is considered a good teacher,  nor does the NECC list. They seem like no-brainers, at least to most faculty I work with here in California at Saint Mary's College. (Perhaps not a larger institutions)

 So, here is Pat's challenge (second to last paragraph): ."....At present, I think we are prone to consider research findings as the conclusion of our investigations into learning. We might do better to think of them as the start of our investigations. For example, rather than assuming that the message of the first principle of the Seven Principles is that we should develop programs to increase student-faculty contact, we might use that  research finding as a starting point for discussion about what it is about student-faculty contact that promotes learning. What role has it played in our own experience and why?".... etc. etc. (She questions earlier on that we really don't know why faculty-student contact seems to be related to student success--it could be due, among other things, to the fact that more motivated and capable students go to see the professor in the first place.--)

We know that not every student in need of help who goes for help to the professor, participates in cooperative study groups, review session, no matter how often, can be assured success. I hear it particularly from scientists all the time: they provide all these opportunities, yet  they can help some, and for others it makes no difference.  It's very individualized!  We only know that on the whole, student-faculty contact seems to be important.  What kind of contact though?  And does it mean the more the better?  Can one even find answers to such questions?  (I am not an educational researcher, just an
interested Director for Faculty Development whose academic discipline is not Education). These are my musings on a Friday morning in Northern California, Monica Clyde
 Millis Barbara J Civ USAFA/DFE <>

Ted, you could alert folks to this article, which shows how cooperative learning fulfills every one of the "7 Principles":  "Fulfilling the Promise of the 'Seven Principles' Through Cooperative Learning:  An Action Agenda for the University Classroom," Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, Vol. 2, 1991, 139-144.
 Elaine Bowman <>

I use the 7 principles (plus 1 - Integrating Faith in learning) as a means of faculty evaluation at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.  I work primarily with adjunct instructors in our adult education programs.  I don't like Likert scales for evaluation - personally, I can't tell much difference between a 2 or a 3 - so Idecided to use the Principles.  Each faculty member was given a copy of the principles so they would know what I was looking for.  Yes, it does take time to write a paragraph or so on each principle, but it is a great teaching/learning tool.  Not only do I write what I observed, but it gives   specific areas that I can add suggestions or techniques to try in the next class.  Before the evaluation goes in their file, I email my comments to the faculty member.  This gives them a chance to add any comments that may have affected their teaching that evening - had a flat tire on the way, several class members absent, etc. They must send me an email verifying - or editing – the evaluation.  So far, they have appreciated the comments and suggestions.

       I implement all of these in my classroom in one way or another. Although I am adjunct and don't have office hours. per se. I am readily avaliable for my students.  I also tutor in our Learning Enhancement Center two mornings a week.  I try to get to class early and "shoot the breeze" with students before class starts.  I also use the names and
experiences of my children and grandchildren in word problems they laugh about.  They love the work problem where Damian is messing up the house and Nana and Grampa are cleaning it. (Who will win?)
       I give group projects to my students in class, switching the groups each time and also give at least one take-home test that they can work on together. It is very hard and almost forces most of them to help one another. In my condensed classes, where the majority of the tests are take-home, they develop a fantastic sense of cooperation and you see everyone helping one another.
       It varies with each class, how much active learning I can do.  I usually teach students who come in with poor math skills and they definitely don't like to work together and show their problems to one another.  However, by the end of the semester, they have frequently formed study groups that work on projects together.
       I try to always give prompt feedback.  On my tests, in particular, I try to have them returned the next class with comments all over them.  If nothing else, there is a "Good Work" or an Oops! on them.
       I emphasize practice with my students and we talk about the amount needed for each student. I always include a study skills component to the class as well as a learning style inventory. We talk about adapting each person's learning strengths to help them understand in any classroom. I readily adapt to projects that take longer than planned
       In my class students are given the motto "I CAN DO IT!" and they are expected to do it. I tell them I will help as much as I possibly can as long as they do their part. I level with them and don't promise that it will always be easy or fast but let them know I have faith that each and every one of them can do the work.  I work with them to correct
mistakes and learn from them, use different learning methods, and learn why something is done instead of giving a bunch of rules.
       As the result of having a physical deformity that was surgically corrected when I was 16 and being classified as a "gifted underachiever" until I learned how to adapt my learning style to the traditional classroom (as a junior in college) I tend to look past the outside of a person.  I could not tell you what color eyes someone has, or probably even describe them to you but I can tell you about them as a person.  I'm always looking for new ways to learn and teach and try to find different ways to reach students with different learning strengths.
Margo Husby-Scheelar <>

One word: respect. Being respectful:
 of Teaching as a calling rather than a job;
of individual humanity of each student;
of their dreams and goals and fears;
of myself as a human being and an educator;
of the material being taught; and

respect for the potential inherent in each person I advise or teach. I cannot model respect or present respect, I must BE respectful, therefore this respect is not a way of doing things but a way of being.
"george jacobs" <>

Things I do to promote student-faculty contact are:

a. To encourage students to take advantage of my office hours, I make it an
assignment for each student to visit my office - either alone or in a
group - at least once during the term.

b. I let students know what I'm up to - both in terms of scholarly
activities, e.g., research, as well as recreational activities, e.g.,
sports. When appropriate, I invite students to join me. Even if no one takes
me up on my offer, at least I made the offer. Plus, telling them about
myself is a kind of self-disclosure which makes me more of a whole person,
rather than just a teacher.

c. Learning students' name and using them when I see them outside of class
also helps, although my fading memory skills makes this more difficult these

d. Spending time in places where students are, e.g., the cafeteria, library,
computer lab. Another advantage of this is that in the academic locations, I
can model interest in learning as well as in the specific topics being
studied in class.
        Isa Kocher <>

>>>>>student faculty contact:

When I was at the University of Pennsylvania as an anthropology undergraduate, I was already a veteran of the USAF, ex-weather-person, and had worked and had been involved in social action in the Philadelphia area. Most of the distribution requirement intro courses I had already taken someplace else, so I mostly took anthro and anthro related courses and electives.

Most of my time at UofP was spent at the University Museum where the anthro courses were given and in the museum library where the anthro books were stacked, so I had breakfast lunch and dinner from time to time in the Museum coffee shop, and at the very least, my tea and coffee there. Not being a young kid and not being too shy, I felt perfectly natural in asking my teachers whether I could join them as they drank their coffee and talked. I certainly learned as much talking with faculty and grad students in that coffee shop as I ever did in class, and felt I could number at least some even senior faculty among my friends, and when I was a graduate student, one of these was on my graduate committee as the outside member.

That experience I am sure had a profound effect on my intellectual life ever since. I have never felt that it is inappropriate to talk to any expert as an intellectual equal. Their expertise may be greater than mine, but my mind is not any less for that (whatever other defects notwithstanding). And as a teacher, I feel that I have a lot to learn from my students, in fact much more than I have to teach.

Beyond that, if you are willing to listen and learn, birds and cats and creatures of all kinds make excellent teachers, and are actually quite anxious to help you understand some things which they have expertise in.

So, design is a very important feature of any leaning environment, and real serious consideration, I think, and far more than is ever given to date, must be given to learning environment design. It is not enough to put up four walls and call it a classroom. Maybe there should be no classrooms at all, or a just a few, and the rest coffee shops and places for pets to relax in.

When I was teaching anthropology, I always had my dog Harry with me (God rest his furry soul), who actually made quite a good TA.
Erin <>

This is not really that different, but I think it works for #2 - good
practice encourages cooperation among students - I have students arrange
themselves in groups of approximately 4 (by their choice for most courses,
but by other criteria such as schedules, etc., or pre-testing strategies for
others), and then, for their first quiz, out of 10 marks, all they have to
do for full credit (I give quizzes almost every class - to give an idea of
how big this value is on their final grade - nevertheless, very few students
want to give up such 'easy' marks...), is come as a group to my office,
either in scheduled office hours or by appointment, and meet with me for
about 5 - 10 minutes, where they are told in advance that I will choose one
person to introduce the group, then another person to tell me one thing
(outside of school) that they all have in common, then another to tell me
one interesting fact about 2 members, and the last person will give me one
interesting fact about the other two members (they are given time in class
on day one to collect this info, and at times I do this exercise in class,
dependent upon time constraints).  I think it is valuable to have students
come visit you in your office (which I see mentioned, but I don't see how it
is effectively accomplished) at the start of the semester, so that they will
feel more comfortable coming to you later on when they need help.

I also see that most responders indicated the value of knowing the names of
their students quickly, but how do they accomplish that?  I think I may have
once emailed you with my first day ritual of taking photos of students in
their groups (or in any group of 4 or 5, just for the sake of both film and
also to not make them feel like they are at the D.M.V. for their license
photo...), while they hold a large piece of paper with their name written in
heavy felt pen, which I provide, then I post their photos on my office wall
and study them before each class until I know them all - I also find that
giving very frequent quizzes helps me learn their names as I hand back their
papers, and that this also helps with principle #4!  This term, I am
considering having the students all hold blank pieces of paper, then filling
in their names on my 'wall of faces' when they come for their
interview/quiz, which must be done within the first two weeks (this is often
the most difficult part to enforce).  I don't know how it will work, but it
will give me another opportunity to put a name to a face, and it is funny to
see that by now, my fourth year at this college, many, many students appear
to the first class very dressed up and ready for photos!  Word of strange
practice spreads quickly, I suppose - I have only ever had one student
refuse to have his picture taken because the camera 'steals part of the
soul' - believe me, I had no problem putting a name to his face after that
anyway!  Sure there are some grumblings, but as long as they are assured
they will not wind up on the internet, and the photos are taken while they
are doing their group introduction tasks, it always seems to work well, and
I have been thanked many times by students who have appreciated me knowing
their name - although, again, one marked exception appeared in one of the
three 'interim course feedback' questionnaires that I have them anonymously
fill out, where one student remarked that they felt that me knowing their
name put too much pressure on them to perform well, because they felt that
if I took the time to do all of these things, they would be letting me down
if they did not do their very best.  It was intended as criticism, but is it
really?  I think that was the whole point of the exercise, so it obviously
got through to at least one of my students!!!

Your site has been absolutely invaluable for information to help me persuade
students to at least give cooperative learning, and even just working in
groups, a fair shake, since many really seem to resent working with others
right from the start, perhaps as a result of poor previous experiences?
During the regular semesters, such students have the opportunity to try to
get into another section, but during the summer, I am their only choice, so
I sometimes feel that since not every section is run this way, perhaps I am
being unfair to 'force' such methods upon students who feel so strongly
against them, however I tell them on day one that I employ the methods I do
purely because I believe so strongly in the positive results they bring, and
that the use of groups or other cooperative learning activities is
definitely not intended to make my job easier (a common misconception by
students who, in lower grades, were given worksheets and left to their own
devices for the entire class), since it has much the opposite effect in
practice (which most soon see).  I sincerely believe that if the students
get the message from you that you are doing what you are doing because you
believe in it, and because you have seen it work, that they are much more
willing to try it out.  I have the wonderful opportunity to teach a
Mathematics for Elementary School Teachers course, and when I begin this
summer, I believe I will introduce the 7 principles, much as you have in
your exercise (if I have your permission to do so, of course), since these
students will all be our future teachers, and this is literally the very
last chance we have to dispel any of their fears or misconceptions about
math before they get into the Elementary School system, and this is often
the last class they need to enter their teaching certification program, thus
making it an incredibly important challenge (and thus opportunity) in my
eyes to have them leave the course perhaps not loving math, but at the very,
very least, not hating it, and thus not prone to pass that message on to
future students they will teach.  Thank you again for your continuing
valuable discussions and your information-packed web-page.  Again, if you
have any upcoming speaking engagements, I would love to know about them, and
would do all I could to be there to meet you in person.  I am so incredibly
impressed at the time you take to further discussions and share your own
experiences with new teachers like me who very much want to use many of the
methods you do, but perhaps just need a little extra information or support
to put them in place.  Your students must be in awe of the time and effort
you put in on their behalf.  I hope to someday have enough experience to be
able to share with others as you do.  For now, even though we have never
met, I consider you one of my mentors, and pass your web address on to all
of my future teachers, along with my colleagues, all of whom I am sure
benefit from it.  I am sure you do not get nearly enough positive feedback
from colleagues or other teachers who use your site, but please keep it
going.  In all sincerity, whenever I doubt my methods or wonder what I could
be doing better, I always visit your site, and even if I just read the same
archived discussions again, I always come away feeling better and more
confident.  That kind of positive support does not come easily for new
instructors, I feel, and the fact that I receive it from the internet is an
amazing sign of our times - not to mention the many times you have taken the
time out of your schedule to answer my questions in person - that is
something I remember when answering the tenth email on the same question
before an exam to panicking students - I know that sometimes all it takes is
knowing that there is someone on the other end who cares enough to write
back.  I like to see that your students are encouraged to email you at any
time as well - being a night owl myself, I often answer, and receive, emails
long after midnight - I make no promise that every one will get answered
that night, but it will be as soon as I see it, and part of that promise
comes from your first day introduction and before class letter ideas.

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