Planning your Semester Activities Efficiently

Dear Content Contributor,



 On behalf of the CISLT team, I welcome you back to the University for the commencement of the 2015/2016 Second Semester academic activities. I wish to express my profound appreciation for your support and the comments received so far on the previous published Weekly Tips by CISLT, which has gained more hits on our university website. Also, I want to thank all the participants that attended our  last workshop themed, "Building Academic Leadership Capacity for Higher Education in the 21st Century" for their positive contributions.


 However, I feel it is important that we share some salient ideas, which we believe will help us in our classroom experience in Quality Teaching Delivery, as the Second Semester commences. These tips were culled from the Derek Bok Centre for Teaching and Learning of the Harvard University.


 In this edition, we'll be focusing on the following tips:


planning your semester activities efficiently,


· making your lectures more participatory,


creating assignments & examinations,


  obtaining and interpreting feedback & evaluations.




1.     Planning the Semester:


As a university teacher, the basic rule of planning is to be well aware of what’s coming up well ahead of time bearing in mind the university calendar. Planning may be seen as the core of any Quality Assurance in Higher Education System. Hence, it is ideal for a good university teacher to embrace it. There are processes involved when talking of being engaged in teaching a course within a semester, such as:



the utilisation of syllabus covering Basic Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS) for the course, as specified by regulatory body, National Universities Commission (NUC) and the development of expected learning outcomes for each component of the syllabus;


· engage students in active learning and practical-based courses;


involve students in  problem-set assignments;  


preparing students for series of continuous assessment tests;


  conducting examination for the course;


  effective grading and feedbacks


In order to have a deeper understanding of how to plan the semester, though this may vary from institution to institution. You may wish to check the following link:




2.     Creating Assignments and Examination:


Preparing for teaching courses in the semester is usually clouded by the need to do more by updating and reviewing the contents of the courses. Whereas, giving assignments and examinations to students play a very important pedagogical role in most courses. This informs the reason why teachers are advised to reinforce the aims of their courses, that is, expected course outcomes, by taking care to construct examinations and assignments in a way that calls for the very kinds of thinking that most want to encourage in their students.




A key to creating effective assignments and examinations is the concept of “alignment.” This concept, according to Ralph Tyler, simply means starting with the “desired outcomes” of the course and working backwards so that the assignments and examinations reflect and support them. It entails figuring out first where you want your students to end up and (only) then and how best to help them get there. For further information on this tip, check this:




3. Obtaining and interpreting feedback & evaluations 


 Furthermore, for effective teaching and learning to take place in our classrooms, there is need to maintain a quality culture of encouraging course evaluation and feedback mechanism to strive our community. Although, evaluation systems face many challenges such as quality, relevance and timeliness of the evaluation itself, medium through which it will be carried out and a major challenge lies in conveying the evaluation results.  Thus feedback and communication of evaluation results are integral parts of the evaluation cycle.





Effective feedback contributes to improving development policies, programmes and practices by providing policymakers with the relevant evaluation information for making informed decisions.




 Evaluation can come at the beginning, mid and end of a semester.





Google has a tool that can assist in this process free of charge. Google form can be used with ease. Feel free to use Google form in conducting online survey in your field of specialization.




You can learn how to use Google form to develop online questionnaire HERE or Youtube version HERE. If you encounter any difficulty you may call this mobile number 08035640707, 08064951255 or visit our centre at the FUNAAB Senate House.




We shall be glad to read your comments from CISLT_Blog.




You also can read our previous tips from HERE




You can also watch out for our monthly in-house round-table discussions on some innovative methods of teaching and learning in FUNAAB.






Thank you.




Dr.  O. Folorunso



Director, Centre for Innovation and Strategy in Learning and Teaching