Teaching toolbox

Take advantage of these open source, web-based tools to help you design key aspects of your course.

Student workload estimator tool

Somewhat surprisingly, there is very little research about the amount of time it takes the average college student to complete common academic tasks. We have self-reported estimates of how much total time they spend on academic work outside of class (12-15 hours), but we don't know much about the quality and quantity of the work that is produced in that time frame (let alone how the time is allocated to different tasks). We also know quite a bit about how students tackle common academic tasks , but those studies rarely ask students to report on how long it takes them to complete the task (whether reading a book, writing a paper, or studying for an exam).

Writing learning outcomes

One of the most important steps in designing a course is formulating learning outcomes. This interactive tool was designed to help you carry out this step. Based on Bloom’s taxonomy for cognitive development, this tool will guide you through writing overall learning outcomes for your course. Using the main tabs (GLO01, GLO02, etc.), you can write a general learning outcome and link it to specific learning outcomes appropriate for identifying the taxonomic level, and a corresponding verb. Once these steps are completed, you must write a learning statement that specifies the content that will be discussed. Your work can be saved by clicking on “Submit”. The list you will receive can be either printed or saved as a PDF (see saving instructions at the end of your learning outcomes list).

Try the tool to write learning outcomes

Licence Creative Commons
The Writing Learning Outcomes Tool created by the Teaching and Learning Support Service (TLSS) of the University of Ottawa (Canada) is made available under the terms of the Attribution - NonCommercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International.

Blended course structuring tool

Establishing the structure of a blended course is an important step in the course design process. To help you complete this step, we have developed two tools to facilitate the process of dividing your course time between online and in class activities.

Excel tool 

The excel version of the course structuring tools gives you the same options as our online tool but, with added benefit of being able to save your work to your computer. You can choose how each week will be broken down (percentage online versus face-to-face), add the learning outcomes for each week, and break down the activities students will be required to complete.The excel tool has been formatted to print on a standard letter (8.5 x 11) page.  

You will notice that only areas of the excel sheet that require information can be modified, all other areas have been restricted. A set of instructions has been provided within the excel sheet and can be viewed by clicking on headings.



Online tool 

Our online course structuring tool gives you a calendar view of the semester where you can add online and face-to-face classes and their associated activities. The final product gives you a printable calendar which lists how the different weeks are divided - including their format, the activities you’ve described, and any other notes you have chosen to write.

Try the Course structuring tool

Blended course rubric

This rubric has been developed based on best practices in course design and is intended to help guide instructors in the development of quality blended courses. It can therefore be especially useful when envisioning a proposal for blended course creation, and consequently in the development and continuous refinement of a blended course.

It is important to note that the descriptors presented in the Rubric represent a relatively comprehensive picture of the best practice for each of the criteria. It is therefore not expected that the first iteration of a blended course would present all of the criteria in a complete manner. The focus instead should be on the continued improvement of the course over time, through the use of this Rubric.

Building a Mid-Term Evaluation tool

Stemming from demand in consultations relating to the collection and use of student-generated feedback, the Teaching and Learning Support Service (TLSS) has put together a Mid-Term Evaluation resource to guide the development of practical feedback tools.

Before using it, check out the Guide below explaining the context of using such a tool; it will allow you to prepare your mid-term evaluation better quickly and easily.

The Importance of Ongoing Student Feedback

Mid-term course evaluations are formative feedback tools that can produce valuable information about how students are experiencing a course. When properly constructed and implemented, mid-term course evaluations can provide instructors with practical improvements or adjustments to a course that both the instructor and their students can make to enhance learning and teaching experiences (Hampton & Reiser, 2002; Yao & Grady, 2005). Thus, the use of mid-term course evaluations promotes a commitment to excellent teaching practices, and an investment in offering students a high quality teaching and learning experience. As stated in its strategic plan for Destination 2020, the University of Ottawa aims to “enrich the learning environment inside the classroom and out” by incorporating “the quality of teaching as part of our institutional culture” (p. 3). Destination 2020 also includes a commitment to “increase student-professor interaction” (p. 3). The collection of student feedback can offer an additional channel of communication in order to develop an understanding of students’ perceptions of a course.

Link to Destination 2020http://destination2020.uOttawa.ca/documents/destination-2020-strategic-plan.pdf

In essence, mid-term course evaluations are an opportunity for students to:

  • Express their level of satisfaction with multiple aspects of a course
  • Share constructive comments about a course early enough for instructors to be able to respond and to enact changes
  • Offer practical suggestions to improve their learning experiences in a course
  • Offer practical suggestions to improve instructors’ teaching experiences in a course
  • Offer feedback or communicate with an instructor confidentially and anonymously
  • Develop a professional student-instructor relationship
  • Become more actively engaged in a course and in their own learning more generally.

Furthermore, mid-term course evaluations are an opportunity for instructors to:

  • Learn more about students’ specific needs
  • Collect feedback that will enhance certain aspects of the course while it is currently in session
  • Design a customized evaluation to collect specific feedback that is not effectively gathered during the regular course evaluations near the end of the semester
  • Receive feedback directly from students
  • Reflect on one’s teaching practices
  • Re-evaluate the direction of a course and review the objectives
  • Develop a professional student-instructor relationship
  • Demonstrate to students that they are interested in the quality of their learning experiences
  • Collect feedback that they may include in their ‘Teaching Dossier’.

Try the tool to build a mid-term evaluation

Start by selecting from the pool the statements that correspond to your course. Repeat for each category and submit to create a ready-made form that you can distribute to your students at a strategic time during your course.

Although you can choose any number of statements, current research recommends asking a reasonable number of questions based on the time students will be given to complete the evaluation. Otherwise, creating a form with a large pool of questions may become counterproductive to your goal. In addition, a combination of quantitative statements (with associated levels and a predetermined scale) and short answer questions provide the best approach for obtaining relevant information about your course and the strategies used.

Please fill in the fields below and click on the Submit button