Instructional Resources, Part 1: Variety is the Spice of [Student] Life
By Dana Bodewes, Instructional Designer
One way to increase student engagement with course content is to promote a variety of instructional resources that provide multiple perspectives or methods of delivery. When planning instructional content, consider how content posted online can enhance the learning taking place in the classroom. Online instructional content can include:
- Videos posted online to watch before or after class
- Online instructional content posted for remediation or a deeper exploration of topics
- Student-generated content shared using wikis, blogs, or websites
- Open educational resources (OERs), including videos and websites
- Publisher resources, including websites, tutorials, games, videos, and simulations
Using existing resources can save you time and effort by utilizing the expertise of others. Some places to search for content include:
- Library materials accessible via online portals
- Video hosting sites like YouTube
- Free educational websites like TedEd and Kahn Academy
- OER repositories like MERLOT and OER Commons
- Professional organization websites like the National Education Association
- Resources created by institutions, government agencies, and nonprofits like the Smithsonian or PBS
The quality of existing resources can vary or they may be designed for audiences of a different age, geographic location, or educational background. If you use open resources, it becomes even more important for you to provide context for the content, tying it to course topics and objectives.
Another excellent strategy for incorporating a variety of resources is to have students contribute to the knowledge base of a course. Students may find and post existing resources or synthesize and generate new content. Articles, videos, web pages, blogs, and wikis can be utilized by students for content development or sharing. Such strategies are especially appropriate for graduate and upper-class students; content generation and peer teaching are best practices grounded in constructivist and andragogical theories of learning.
For assistance finding and utilizing a variety of instructional resources for your course, consider partnering with an instructional designer and/or academic librarian. What ways have you expanded your use of instructional resources? Share your experience in the comment section below.