In March 1987, the American Association of Higher Education first published "Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education." These seven principles are a meta-analysis of 50 years of research on good teaching principles by Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson. These principles apply to teaching and learning in any environment.
1. Good practice encourages interaction between students and faculty.Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of class is a most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. It also enhances students' intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and plans.
WebCT Tip: Use the Discussion Board, Mail, Chat & Whiteboard to interact with your students.
2. Good practice encourages interaction and collaboration between students.Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one's ideas and responding to others improves thinking and deepens understanding.
WebCT Tip: Encourage students to ask questions of each other, try & answer each others' inquiries, or react to each others work (via the Discussion Board, in Mail, or Chat, for example). Set up a "buddy" system or groups for collaboration (you can assign private Discussion Topic areas to specific groups of students, assign Chat rooms, and set up a public Student Presentation area where each group can share their groupwork).
3. Good practice uses active learning techniques.Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what the learn part of themselves.
WebCT Tip: Design Assignments to encourage students to apply the concepts learned in the course. Use the Self-Test tool for active review of materials. The Discussion board is a good place to have students reflect publicly on issues & respond to each other's reflections.
4. Good practice gives prompt feedback.Knowing what you know and don't know focuses your learning. In getting started, students need help in assessing their existing knowledge and competence. Then, in classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive feedback on their performance. At various points during college, and at its end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how they might assess themselves.
WebCT Tip: Let students know what type of feedback to expect from you & how often it will be provided. Likewise, be clear as to what type of feedback you'd like from them. At various times during the course, allow the students a forum for providing feedback about the course itself. Note that the Quiz & the Self-Test tools are a good ways of providing instant feedback.
5. Good practice emphasizes time on task.Time plus energy equals learning. Learning to use one's time well is critical for students and professionals alike. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty.
WebCT Tip: Use the Calendar tool as one way to keep students on-task. Timed quizzes emphasize time-on-task, as well.
6. Good practice communicates high expectations.Expect more and you will get it. High expectations are important for everyone - for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. WebCT Tip: Provide students examples of "A"-quality work. Release statistics along with grades, so that students can see how they are performing as compared to the rest of the class (stats can give the mean grade and/or the frequencies). Use the "Selective Release" feature to release course info only as students achieve a certain level of success on a test.
7. Good practice respects diversity --- talents, experience, and ways of learning.Many roads lead to learning. Different students bring different talents and styles to college. Brilliant students in a seminar might be all thumbs in a lab or studio; students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well with theory. Students need opportunities to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learn in new ways that do not come so easily.
WebCT Tip: Stick to a template for course page design *but* vary the types of excercises and assignments.
Taken from "Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever" by Chickering and Ehrmann http://www.aahe.org/technology/ehrmann.htm