Laura Mitchell offers advice for rethinking Course Learning Objectives

There's nothing like a crisis to focus the mind. In the context of an abrupt transition to online classes, let's focus on goals for your students. What's the single most important thing a student should be able to do in June, having taken your class?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Is there one cardinal concept you want them to take away? A reading, quotation, or principle you hope they remember ten years from now, when they reflect on the fact that their freshman year, or senior year, was disrupted by COVID-19?

Make this single thing the lodestar for your course. I hear you. We’re humanists. We traffic in nuance and multiplicities, not certainties; certainly not binaries. Well, for far too many humans this year, COVID-19 will mean the binary between life and death. So let’s get real, and find the most singular, clear focus you can for your class(es) this spring. Then build student inquiry and assignments around that goal. Your mantras for this process: Less is more. Clear is kind.

Laura Mitchell
Director of Pedagogical Development in the School of Humanities