Whether you are teaching for the first time or teaching at a community college for
the first time, it’s important to have a baseline for where your students come from.
Many community college students are first generation college students, non-traditional
students, or underserved students. Because most students work full or part time, have
families, or have other responsibilities, many students cite anxiety about completing
tasks and being successful in their classes. At LBCC, many of our students start their
courses here in developmental education courses.
Consider the following strategies when designing class structure:
- For most students, especially in lower-division courses, a series of short assignments
is better than one long assignment.
- Long assignments (research papers, term papers) will be more successful if instructors
break them into stages. Consider using the TILT framework.
- A mixture of different kinds of assignments are better than a single monolithic type.
- For most of students, structured assignments lead to greater growth: the instructor
specifies a problem to be addressed; clarifies expectations about content, structure,
and length; and makes grading criteria explicit.
- Opportunities for group work and experiential learning should be provided whenever
- Assignments should be sequenced to promote a gradual increase in difficulty level
with plenty of opportunities for early success.
- Frequent and timely feedback should be provided to encourage students, to give guidance
for improvement, and to reduce anxiety.
It is the responsibility of faculty to check in with students to assess their learning and to connect students with the many resources available to them.