Explore Strategies - Enhancing Education - Carnegie Mellon University

Step 3: Explore Strategies

Explore potential strategies.

My students’ background knowledge and skills vary widely.

The course is cross-listed as graduate and undergraduate.

Some classes are cross-listed as open to both undergraduates and graduate students. This is usually an effort to alleviate heavy teaching loads and low enrollment, but also to take advantage of the synergies that happen by merging different audiences. Unfortunately, this introduces the issue of students who, while possibly in the same field, have widely varying knowledge and motivation.

Strategies:

Allow students to enroll only with the permission of the instructor.

Identify appropriately different sets of learning objectives, activities and assessments for grads and undergrads.

If possible, add an extra hour of class time for graduates.

 

 

Allow students to enroll only with the permission of the instructor.

If the class is geared mainly to one audience, check with your department to determine if it is possible for you to screen students before they enroll in the course.

Identify appropriately different sets of learning objectives, activities and assessments for grads and undergrads.

Because you have two sets of students who are hoping to get different things out of the class, this should be reflected in two sets of learning objectives for the course. Because the objectives will obviously overlap, a very common practical solution is to simply add extra objectives for the graduate students, in addition to the learning objectives for undergraduates. In accordance to the principle of alignment, once the learning objectives change, the assessments should change in accordance, as well as the instructional strategies.

If possible, add an extra hour of class time for graduates.

This strategy is really a corollary of the previous one. If graduate students have extra learning objectives, you might need more class time to accomplish them. In fact, you might consider increasing the number of units for the graduate version if this increases the average umber of hours per week graduate students are supposed to spend on your course. 

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learning principles

  1. Students’ prior knowledge can help or hinder learning. MORE>
  2. How students organize knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know. MORE>
  3. Students’ motivation determines, directs, and sustains what they do to learn. MORE>
  4. To develop mastery, students must acquire component skills, practice integrating them, and know when to apply what they have learned. MORE>
  5. Goal-directed practice coupled with targeted feedback enhances the quality of students’ learning. MORE>
  6. Students’ current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning. MORE>
  7. To become self-directed learners, students must learn to monitor and adjust their approaches to learning. MORE>