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Best Practices for Implementing a Change in Your Classroom

  1. Establish clear goals for implementation

  2. Establish clear course goals

  3. Reduce the number of cooks

  • Identify a key decision-maker who will have the last word on structure, timelines, delegation duties, etc.
  1. Make and keep a deadline for changes to the course before launch

  • The deadline should be no later than two weeks before the first-semester launch
  1. Document, document, document!

  • Establish a shared drive/folder for implementation documents
  • Keep meeting notes
  • Good documentation prevents rework
  1. Delegate responsibly

  • Establish who will work on which deliverables
  • Maintain accountability—a successful implementation is based on being prepared; lack of accountability means that preparedness falls short
  1. Keep it simple

  • Everything from course structure to grading should be as simple as possible. Questions to ask when determining if something should be included in the course structure:
    • How long will it take to do? Does it add time to grading/maintaining the course?
    • Does doing/implementing this item support student learning and success?
  1. Keep an open mind

  • Often it is easy to stay with what we know. Keep an open mind to new ways of teaching (although they might be uncomfortable) often being open helps with keeping things simple, which benefits both students and instructors.
  • Remember, it is always possible to modify the course after the first semester or after the pilot
  1. Don’t try to solve all the potential problems at once

  • Often, we envision problems where none exist. Try not to anticipate too many problems.
  • Establish a priority list
  • If the structure is simple, students will have an easy time adapting
  1. Manage expectations

  • Overnight pass rates of 100% might materialize but often it takes time and tweaks to a course before everything runs smoothly
  • Set realistic expectations for the first run of the course and recognize this is a process and each successive iteration will only improve
  1. Don’t skimp on training: An educated instructor is a successful instructor

  • Create training documents that support the needs of your instructors
  • Well planned and executed training puts instructors at ease on day one
  • Provide/create weekly discussion groups or forums for instructors to check-in/ask questions the first semester of implementation
  1. Identify your first-semester implementation team

  • Create a team of people who will work with the instructors to answer and resolve issues for the first-semester launch
    • One person to deal with product questions and act as MHE liaison/escalation chain
    • One person per campus/every 1500 students/10 instructors to work on classroom management, course documentation, course structure, course protocol issues
    • One person to work with/liaison to the department/administration
  1. First-semester Launch Protocol

  • Bi-monthly to discuss the issues and identify resolutions
  • Identify potential changes for the second semester

About the Author

Suzanne Galayda has taught mathematics for over fifteen years with a focus on developmental and first year mathematics courses.   Her areas of interest are ED-Tech, technology in the classroom, and AR/VR in education.  She has been using McGraw-Hill’s CONNECT and ALEKS platforms in hybrid mathematics classrooms for the past several years.  Most recently, she worked on ASU’s OLC award winning redesign of College Algebra using ALEKS.   She also contributes to the McGraw-Hill Math-Tips Newsletter.

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