General resources

Instructional planning plays a critical role in the effectiveness of the learning that will take place with the classroom. All planning should be focused on specific goals or objectives that state what the learner will be able to do at the end of instruction. There are several models for planning instruction. It is important to select a model that fits your discipline and contains all the key components of learning. Below are several resources that might assist in planning your course.

Books available in the CTLAE – planning resources

  • Davis, B.G. (2001). Tools for Teaching. Jossey-Bass.
  • McKeachie, W.J. et. al. (1994). Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research and Theory for College and University Teachers (9th ed.). Heath and Company.
  • Reiser, R.A., & Dick, W. (1996). Instructional Planning: A Guide for Teachers (2nd ed.). Allyn and Bacon.
  • Stewart, D.A. (2004). Effective Teaching: A Guide for Community College Instructors. Community College of Vermont.
  • Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice. Jossey-Bass.

External web resources – planning resources

On the Cutting Edge – PD for Geoscience faculty. Retrieved Oct. 10, 2010 from

Designing Effective and Innovative Courses, Developed by Barbara J. Tewksbury (Hamilton College) and R. Heather Macdonald (College of William and Mary).

This site contains teaching tip sheets on a wide variety of topics:

  • Assessment
  • Course design
  • Difficult behaviours
  • How people learn
  • Teaching techniques


A syllabus is one of the most important parts of any course. A good syllabus should be complete and well organized. An instructor’s job is easier with a well written syllabus. One of a student’s first interactions with a course is via the syllabus. A well crafted syllabus can aid in a successful course. The syllabus introduces the course instructor, describes the course goals, expectations and requirements, and provides a course schedule in addition to the outline of the topics to be covered. It may be seen as a prospectus, plan and contract. A well-written syllabus acts as a reference for students throughout the semester.


Outcomes and objectives

Although the specific vocabulary used to differentiate between big picture goals and more specific and focused goals may change from one industry, organization or learning environment to another, the ideas are similar. At Georgian College (and in many other educational environments), learning outcomes are the general big picture goals and learning objectives are the smaller steps that allow learners to achieve the larger goal.

Learning goals are generally determined through the various curriculum processes at Georgian. Learning objectives are generally defined by teachers for particular instructional segments.

CTLAE workshop resources – outcomes and objectives

Workshop Handout (2004), last updated Fall 2009. This 10-page handout includes workshop resources for:

  • Definition and rationale;
  • Structure and form;
  • Deconstructing objectives;
  • “Upping” performance expectations;
  • Bloom’s taxonomy action verbs;
  • Generic building blocks document; and,
  • Connecting outcomes to assessment.

Bloom’s Taxonomy classifies objectives in three domains:

  • Cognitive domain (demonstrated by intellectual or thinking skills)
  • Psychomotor domain (demonstrated by physical skills and/or the performance of actions)
  • Affective domain (demonstrated by attitudes and values).

In each of these three domains, goals for learning are described at a variety of levels. Although it has been around for a long time, Bloom’s Taxonomy is still used as a foundational tool for developing learning outcomes and objectives.

Articles on outcomes and objectives

Books available in the CTLAE – outcomes and objectives

  • Boyle, E, & Rothstein, H (2003). Essentials of College and University Teaching: A Practical Guide. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.
  • Stiehl, R. & Lewchuk, L. (2002). The Outcomes Primer: Reconstructing the College Curriculum. Richmond, BC: The Learning Organization.

External web resources – outcomes and objectives

Learning preferences

Most people have preferred styles of acquiring and communicating information, ideas and skills. This is often thought of as our teaching style or learning style, although that is quite a simplistic way of thinking about these complex differences. Despite the complexity of how people learn and communicate, it can be helpful to be aware of differences in order to understand our own learning and the learning of others better.

Differences in learning preferences can result form many things other than our cognitive strengths. This can include:

  • Cultural differences;
  • Past learning experiences;
  • Gender differences;
  • Subject/disciplinary ways of learning; and,
  • Teaching/learning goals and expectations.

Varying teaching approaches, to address a variety of learning preferences, can increase student engagement in learning, help to reinforce different ways of learning, and support different preferences. There are several different ways to think about learning and teaching styles.

CTLAE workshop resources – learning preferences

Learning Styles – Workshop PowerPoint (prepared by Annique Boelryk – Fall 2010)


Teaching to a Variety of Learning Styles (Vol. 2, No. 2) – updated Fall 2009: This pedagoggle outlines traits and strategies related to the sensory preferences (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) as well as to the preferences related to the dominant brain hemisphere (left/right brain).

Teaching to a Variety of Learning Styles – Ideas from Workshop Participants: In various workshops, we have gathered ideas from Georgian educators about how they address a variety of sensory preferences. This document also contains ideas for different ways to help learners:

  • Apply theories and frameworks;
  • Learn new vocabulary;
  • Learn step-by-step processes;
  • Generate new ideas; and,
  • Make connections.

Surveys for evaluating learning preferences

Articles on learning preferences

  • Montgomery, S.M., & Groat, L.M. (1998). Student Learning Styles and Their Implications for Teaching. Center for Research on Learning and Teaching: The University of Michigan. Retrieved November 2009 from

Books available in the CTLAE – learning preferences

  • Angelo, T.A. & Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Buzan, T. & Buzan, B. (1993). The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize your Brain’s Untapped Potential. New York: Penguin Group.
  • Nilson, L.B. (2007). The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating your Course. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Sarasin, L.C. (2006). Learning Style Perspectives: Impact in the Classroom (2nd ed.). Madison, WI: Atwood Publishing.


Classroom learning environment

Developing and maintaining a positive learning environment is a foundation for effective teaching. Given the complexity of the learning environment and all the factors that influence this environment, there are no magical solutions to achieving this goal.

Although there are some general guidelines that work successfully for many effective strategies, the important thing to keep in mind about managing the learning environment is that it is an ongoing active process in which the teacher must be a careful observer, communicator, facilitator and manager.

The resources in this section offer general information and strategies related to learning management. They offer ideas and reflective questions for dealing with common classroom management issues. We strongly encourage faculty to dialogue with experienced peers about various issues and strategies.

Classroom environment workshop resources

Critical Incidents: Part 1– Discussion Guide for Faculty

This guide describes 10 common incidents related to managing the learning environment. They include situations related to:

  • Disruption add/drop period
  • Technology failure
  • Active engagement
  • Connecting with students
  • Poor listening
  • Special needs
  • Students confidentiality mental illness

For all situations, faculty are encouraged to discuss the complexities of the situation with their colleagues and brainstorm ideas for dealing with them positively and constructively.

Critical Incidents: Part 2 – Possible Strategies

This document outlines possible preventative, in the moment, and follow-up strategies for handling the 10 common critical incidents listed above. It is important to recognize that these are only a few suggested actions and that there are many other options that could be considered. Faculty are encouraged to discuss a variety of strategies with experienced teachers and select those that work best for their course, program, and student group.

The Four Stages of Teaching Related to Learning Management

The information in this file was prepared for the Teaching and Learning Open Forum and is based on work by T. McIntyre (2004), A Primer on Behaviour Management, found at the following site:

The four stages discussed are:

  • Stage 1 – The Shiny New Teacher
  • Stage 2 – The Shell Shocked Teacher
  • Stage 3 – The Authoritarian Teacher
  • Stage 4 – The Skilled and Caring Learning Manager
  • Stage 5 – The Wise Mentor

Read this information to determine which stage you might be at, and how you can move forward in terms of your approach to behaviour management.

Pedagoggles – classroom environment

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Books available in the CTLAE – classroom environment

  • McKeachie, W.J. (1994). Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research and Theory for College and University Teachers (9th edition). D.D. Heath and Company.
  • Davis . B.G. (2001). Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Community College of Vermont . (2004). Effective Teaching: A Guide for Community College Instructors. American Association of Community Colleges.

External web resources – classroom environment

Building a Learning Community in Your Classroom: Retrieved Jan. 13, 2006 from is an online professional development network of resources and learning modules designed specifically for the needs of community college faculty. This particular page describes several different strategies for breaking the ice, getting to know students and getting students involved in learning.

Classroom Management: Retrieved Jan. 13, 2006 from In this excellent document on classroom management Lisa Rodriguez discusses many important factors related to building a positive classroom environment. These include: setting the ground rules, managing the tempo, connecting with students, and helping students learn to be college students.

Handling Crisis – California Community Colleges: Retrieved Jan. 13, 2006 from The learning and teaching centre at BCIT has prepared a number of guides for faculty. This one is designed to help faculty ncrease positive student behaviour in classes and labs and contains checklists designed to:

  • Help anticipate opportunities for disruptive behaviour;
  • Help plan ahead to increase positive student behaviour;
  • Describe techniques that increase the likelihood of positive student behaviour; and,
  • Help handle problems when they arise.