Activity: Create activities to support student processing and comprehension. 

Provide reading/viewing/listening guides for new course content 

Reading or viewing guides help students focus on the most important ideas and prompt connections between old and new content. 

  • A guide can include ‘look for’ vocabulary and ideas as well as focus questions that students should be able to answer after reading. 
  • Use guides to prompt student thinking about personal connections to content and the connections to prior and future work. Guides can be scaffolded to establish basic knowledge and then ask students to apply what they’ve processed to a novel context or larger issue.  
  • The screenshot below shows questions given to a class to guide their reading in a course text. Note where questions prompted students to make personal connections and directions about what sections to skim and why. 
screenshot of guide to reading
Use response activities to check student understanding and promote deeper thinking  Response activities can be short or detailed, but they give students the chance to step back and get the ‘birds eye view’ of course content. Activities are versatile–they can be posted on a discussion board, submitted individually, or shared in a synchronous session. Responses can form the basis of class discussions, reflection papers, mid- and end-of-semester reviews, or as alternatives to traditional reading quizzes. Possible response activities include: 
  • Wrapper activity: Ask students to share the three most important or lasting ideas from the assigned reading. After students share their ideas, show your three main takeaways and discuss where there are similarities and differences. 
  • Twitter reports: Students comment on a reading or recording in less than 130 characters using a class hashtag. The class responds to each other’s reports. This can be used in any chat feature, as well. 
  • Screencast summary surveys: Ruffini (2012) proposes using a 5-sentence summary of what students watched: 
    • Sentence 1: In this video, I learned… 
    • Sentence 2: Specifically,… 
    • Sentence 3: I really understood… 
    • Sentence 4: I am still confused about… 
    • Sentence 5: This screencast can be related to… 
  • Tomasek (2009) offers even more ideas for reading prompts tailored to college level teaching and outcomes. There are also great strategies for using reading prompts as an interactive experience between students. The ideas can be applied to other resources, not just text-based materials.