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Two Quick Ways To Improve Teaching: Learning Objectives And Plus/Delta Forms

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade for Teaching I

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1363.1 - 10.1363.4



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Paper Authors

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David Miller

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Two Quick Ways to Improve Teaching: Learning Objectives and Plus/Delta Forms

David C. Miller Department of Chemical Engineering Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Introduction A new engineering educator seeking to become a better teacher and to improve classroom interaction can easily become overwhelmed by the large number of approaches that have been described in the literature. Although some of these, such as problem-based learning and active learning, have been shown to significantly enhance student learning and retention, they are perhaps not the best approaches to adopt during the first few years as a faculty member. Compared with more traditional teaching techniques, these approaches typically require a significant time commitment from the instructor, and they are usually initially met with student resistance and hostility, resulting in negative teaching evaluations. A new faculty member may be better served by initially adopting simpler techniques that require less additional time and result in immediately higher teaching evaluations. Making use of detailed learning objectives and weekly plus/delta forms are two quick ways to potentially improve student learning and course evaluations.

Learning Objectives As described by several authors [1-4], detailed learning objectives are a set of specific tasks that the students are expected to be able to accomplish. These can be communicated as daily objectives, weekly objectives or objectives for an exam. These objectives differ from course objectives by being specifically geared toward actions that the student should be able to perform in order to demonstrate their proficiency. Learning objectives help students understand exactly what is expected of them, so they know what to focus on when studying. When an instructor bases an exam on these learning objectives and promises not to ask any questions outside the scope of these objectives, students perceive the instructor as being fairer. Thus, teaching evaluations may improve since the instructor is not perceived as trying to trick the students. Since the students know what is expected of them, they can make more effective use of their study time. In fact, many students will go through the list of objectives and make sure they can perform each task. This may result in better overall student learning and improved student performance on exams.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Miller, D. (2005, June), Two Quick Ways To Improve Teaching: Learning Objectives And Plus/Delta Forms Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14616

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