Documentation:Learning Principles & Strategies/Case Study Philosophy/Integrated

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Course Details

Christina Hendricks

Senior Instructor


Faculty of Arts

Course Code: ARTS 001

Course Name: Arts One

Term Offered: 2013 Winter

Mode of Delivery: Blended

Class Size: 100


Context: There are quite a few writing assignments in the courses I teach: philosophy courses and Arts One (a first-year, interdisciplinary, writing-intensive course). Over and over I have seen the feedback I provide on essays go unused on later essays. Students make the same mistakes even after I have pointed them out on earlier work. This is most obvious with issues such as structure and the need for further explanation and/or textual support for claims – content concerns necessarily differ from essay to essay.

What do students need to learn? How to write clearly, cohesively and appropriately for the context.

What has been your approach to teaching? In the past, I have provided very detailed feedback on essays, pointing out nearly every concern I find and suggesting how problems may be fixed. There are at least two reasons why this is problematic:

  1. students get overwhelmed with feedback and may find they can’t possibly take it all in;
  2. with me finding and fixing all of the problems, I am not encouraging them to do that on their own.

What approach are you experimenting with?

What are students learning?

What are you learning?

The Teaching Challenge

Video to go here!

Case Study - Philosophy

Group Discussion Results

What may be going on for the students in this scenario?

  • No balance in the feedback; students may be overwhelmed
  • Superficial and fragmented knowledge
  • Little active learning
  • Unconscious competence of the professor

What learning principles might help us understand the problem and determine teaching approaches?

  • Knowledge organization
  • Mastery integration

What teaching strategies might you suggest and why

  • Timeline to keep track of the mistakes
  • Focus the students: do not give them all the answers
  • Match the expectation
  • Target feedback
  • Ask students what they learned about writing at the end of the year; what makes a good paper?
  • Have students grade each others' papers to realize types of errors, what makes a good paper, etc.
  • Ask students in higher years to evaluate



  • Ambrose, S.A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C., Norman, M.K. (2010). How Learning Works: 7 Researched-based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Doyle, Terry. (2008) Helping Students Learn in a Learner-Centered Environment. Sterling: Stylus