7 Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

Hosted by: Kady Katona

Listen along as Kady Katona, Instructional Designer at CETL, shares the essentials from Chickering & Gamson’s 7 Principles of Good Teaching Practice. Grab your headphones and enjoy!

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Hi this is Kady Katona an Instructional Designer at CETL with another episode of the Cerebro Series. Today we’ll be exploring Chickering & Gamson’s Seven Principles of Good Practice.
Did you know these seven principles were expanded upon in 1996 for online courses and have become the foundational building blocks for e-learning programs in higher education systems across the country. Well, now you do!

The first principle is about encouraging contact between students and faculty. We can all think back to an encouraging moment when a teacher reached out to us at some point in our lives. I bet it even made you want to work harder in that class. Making that connection with students is key! And now that can be done through email, discussion groups and right in Canvas. You could encourage students to have a picture or avatar in Canvas and record their name in namecoach then add it to their email and profile.

The second good practice principle encourages reciprocity & cooperation among students. Working together as a team does wonders for the Broncos, same goes for students. There are several creative ways students can be encouraged to work together- placing them in predetermined groups, setting up assignments so they need student feedback, collaborative projects, small group discussions and simple icebreaker activities can build a community in person or even through Zoom. Avoid assignments that encourage competition or isolation. That’s never fun for anyone.

Numero tres encourages active learning. It’s all about making learning relevant and a part of students’ lives. Here at CU Denver there are different types of free software available to help with this like the Microsoft Office applications. Or even the Adobe Creative Cloud. Listen, I get it, hearing Adobe makes you think of Photoshop, and it is intense, but products like Adobe Spark are very user friendly. With Adobe Spark students can create a website, design a graphic or even make a video with minimal time & tech skills. And, ya never know, it could spark them to create more in the future.

The fourth good practice principle recommends giving prompt feedback. With suggestions for improvement students can reflect and grow. Providing an opportunity for reflection allows for a deeper learning and a realization of what else they need to know and eventually how to assess themselves. Again technology makes this timely task of providing feedback as quick as possible. Comments can be made right on documents but then hidden with a click, on-line testing and web based programs provide instantaneous feedback. Simply posting the answer key in Canvas once the assignment is turned in allows students to check their own work.
Oh Also, adding hyperlinks within an assigned digital text can help students answer their own questions.

Principle number five emphasizes time on task. We’re not in the Matrix and we can’t plug in for knowledge, it takes time and energy.
It is vital to allow time for life and technology when setting out expectations for assignments. Teaching students a few strategies to study better at home can save hours. Or even referring them to Early Action when they need help with technology or have multiple absences. Also, keeping your Canvas course well organized and user friendly allows more time for learning.

The sixth good practice principle communicates high expectations.
It’s all about setting those expectations high early on in a clearly outlined syllabus digital or not, from the start of the semester.
Give students the opportunity to revise their work and also provide examples of exemplar work. Be sure to display some of their work as well. With the help of the Adobe Creative Commons Suite students could easily make sites to display work. And above all model those high expectations that you want to see from your students.

The final principle of Good practice lucky number seven respects diverse talents and ways of learning.
Our final principle sums it all up- everyone learns differently making it essential to provide students with a range of activities that can reflect the mosaic backgrounds of your students. Utilize a mix of videos, discussions, lectures, groups, guest speakers, pair work.
Tap into and celebrate the diversity with a range of assignments- written, oral, projects to engage as many different ways of learning a possible. Why not even find out about your student’s backgrounds at the beginning of the semester to better tailor to them?

By having these seven principles of good practice mixed together is like enjoying a great pot of Chicken soup- where all the ingredients meld together just right.

You the teacher need to care and reach out to students while promoting camaraderie through group work within the class. High expectations can be easily modelled in engaging learning experiences that tap into students’ backgrounds.

With all of this melding together you can give prompt feedback and help those needing support with staying on task. When this all falls into place it is then great learning happens.

So, take a minute right now and pick at least one principle you are going to focus on in your class.
-Maybe send out a quick check in email with your students.
-Try a short fun team building exercise.
-Step out of your comfort zone and try a different style of presenting a new topic.
-Or even contact the OIT team and see how you can incorporate Adobe into an upcoming assignment.
What ever you pick will be great.

Thanks for joining me Kady as I explored Chickering & Gamson’s seven principles of Good Practice. Be sure to check out another insightful tidbit at Cerebro Series. Until next time, keep those brain juices flowing.