Ten Ideas for Getting Students to Do the Reading

  1. Assign short reading responses.
    • Make the questions substantive questions
      • Ex. What did you find most convincing?
    • Assign ahead of time
    • Keep length to at most a paragraph
    • Vary the kind of questions with each reading
      • Ex. “Come up with three research questions based on the readings” on one week and then “Identify strengths and weaknesses of the primary argument of each reading” on another
  2. Assign students to post discussion questions on Moodle about the readings in advance of class discussion.
    • Assign 4-5 times a semester
    • Require thoughtful questions
    • Mandate posting ahead of time
    • Require upload by 5:00 p.m. the night before
    • Inform students that the questions need to be designed to elicit conversation from their colleagues
    • Allow all students to see the questions in advance of the class
  3. Assign summaries due on the day that the book or article will be discussed.
    • Grade as did or did not do
    • Reference in the discussion
  4. Have students do a self-assessment.
    • Check off boxes
      • Ex. Did I do the reading, etc.
    • Then ask for self-reflection
      • Ex. “I gave input,” participated in the group discussions, etc.
    • Do four times
    • Post on Moodle and alerted through email
    • Get them socialized to check email, do assignments, etc.
    • Apportion half of their participation grade
  5. Require students to report on whether they did the minimum essential assessment.
    • Assess by 0 - didn’t do the reading; 1 - say did the reading; 3 - show you did the reading
    • Craft quick short prompts
  6. Hold a moot court that requires that the students have read the material to participate.
  7. Give quizzes on readings.
    • Offer multiple choice quizzes at lower level
    • Assign short answer quizzes at upper level
    • Allow students to bring study guide and written notes
    • Can choose to announce students on a random basis
    • Require that they focus on key concepts from the readings
  8. Require evidence from readings on mid-term and final essays.
  9.  “Cold call” on students in class for answers based on the reading.
    • Recognize the problem of students anticipating who will be called upon
    • Can randomize
  10. Recognize that there are disciplinary-specific expectations about whether students will be required to read or not. Thus, disciplinary-specific strategies are required.

Pedagogy Project Participants, April 6, 2018
Leora Bar-El, Anthony Johnstone, Kim Reiser, Daisy Rooks, Tobin Miller Shearer, and Ashley Trautman