Karen Smith

Karen Smith


online course and content development, distance education, mathematics instruction


"Active learning strategies can assist [students] in developing higher level skills like critical thinking, analysis, synthesis and evaluation." I think it incredibly important for students to develop higher order thinking skills. The techniques discussed in this course will certainly help create an "intellectually competent" workforce.

My favorite quote from the course: "Being a good critical thinker is part of what it means to be a fully developed, well-rounded person. It can help them graduate and enter their career path with a better self-understanding or ability to progress and be engaged in their career choice."

"Browse our collections of free, engaging, and customizable activities that’ll help you invite, celebrate, and develop your students’ thinking. Students will share their ideas using card sorts, sketches, images, multiple choice responses, and a large and growing list of other components."


I am going to incorporate more of the active learning modules I have found, recently, in my courses. Also, I am going to create a welcome/introductory video to walk students through the structure of the course content/activities. This should help with motivating students by establishing a positive instructor presence. I will work to strengthen student engagement and reinforce instructor presence using positive, encouraging statements in timely discussion feedback.

I was happy to see the bit about creating a video to introduce the expectations of students in an active learning activity. I will need to implement that, so I will be reviewing those parts of this course that give suggestions to set students up for success in active learning activities.

I really like the idea that "activities or assignments that increase students’ attention span and keep them engaged in the class, are at the heart of active learning..." It is refreshing that students are encouraged to take more responsibility for their learning, through the active learning environment. 

I am looking forward to discovering and implementing more active learning modules and activities in my algebra and stats courses.

Comment on Christine Peppers's post:

Hi, Chris.

I just reread your discussion post (from a few years ago) about using learning phases to help mitigate learning anxiety. 
Super insightful approach! I want to make a poster of the "I do -We do - Y'all do - You do" Method.


Karen Smith

I try to show an active and positive presence in my classes, from the very beginning. Recently, I have begun hosting a ”Live Welcome Session” before our 1st lesson is due. Students get a warm welcome and a tour of our online course. It absolutely helps students to get a strong start when they can be confident that someone is there to offer guidance and help through tough spots.


I am looking forward to having students' learning improve through using and developing rubrics.

I have found some sample rubrics to use to build my own using Excel.

Looking forward to building and testing it for reliability, validity, and fairness.


Through the use of rubrics, I would like to encourage students to self-assess and reflect on their learning successes and short-comings. I would like to see rubric feedback be a vehicle for improving study skills.


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