Thinking Allowed

Wrapping Up the Semester: Two Ways to Capture Thoughts for Next Time

Now that the semester is winding down it is important for you to take a few minutes to think about how your courses went – what worked well, what could use improvement, what new things would you like to try next time?

Here are two ways to capture your feelings and ideas about your courses so that you can recall what changes you would like to make prior to teaching these courses again.

1.Take Notes

The first way is easy – create a document or note and brainstorm ideas related to the course. Since I use Blackboard all the time, I create an “item” called “Notes for Next Time” and list things I would like to change. On this list I put everything from announcements I would like to tweak to clarification of research directions. I keep it at the top of my “Start Here” page, hidden from students, to make sure I see it right away when I roll the course.

“Notes for Next Time” can be left in the course all semester so that you can capture ideas as they occur to you throughout the term.

Here is an example:

Notes for Next Time

2. Reflect

The second way to ensure you capture your ideas for improving your courses is a little more formal.

Spend a few minutes reflecting on your course, mulling over the high points and the rocky roads, and capture those thoughts in a dedicated document.

Guiding questions on the “Instructor’s Course Reflection” form posted below will help you through the process.

Download the PDF, reflect, and respond honestly. Keep it with your syllabus or other course materials you plan to update for the next time you teach the course, and you will be able to easily remind yourself of what you want to change, focus on, or implement.

Teaching, like learning, is a process of continuous improvement. Hopefully these suggestions will help you meet your instructional goals.


Judith Littlejohn

Instructor’s Course Reflection Form