Explore Strategies-Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

Step 3: Explore Strategies

Explore potential strategies.

Students don’t keep up with the reading.

The amount of assigned reading may be unrealistic.

Sometimes professors underestimate how much time it will take the students to do the readings and simply assign too much. Instructors also sometimes consider the length of reading assignments without taking into account the type of reading it is. For example, it might take students considerably longer to read 50 pages of political philosophy than it would take them to read 50 pages from a novel.


Carefully structure the workload.

Make sure your course requirements, including readings and other assignments, are consistent with the university time-unit guidelines (a unit represents one hour of work per week, on the average). When you are allocating time for readings, remember it might take 3-4 times longer for them than it takes for you, depending on the student’s level and on the kind of reading assigned (e.g., theoretical treatises vs. items from the popular press).

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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>