One-Minute Essays (Angelo and Cross 1993):

  • Before class, consider what you want your students to be learning in this unit. Are there concepts or skills you want them to understand before moving on?
  • Based on your learning outcomes, design a prompt that engages the students with the outcomes with which you are concerned. Be sure to double-check that it allows for more than one answer.
  • After posing your prompt to the class, be sure to give them enough time to answer before collecting the responses.
  • It's up to you on whether or not to make it anonymous. If you are concerned about individual comprehension, have them write their names.
  • When reviewing responses, keep track of common mistakes.
  • Provide feedback and adjust the following class according to your results. Giving a summary of the main misconceptions can help the class follow along with any adjustments you are making.
  • This activity can be adapted to the online environment by making use of Canvas quizzes or surveys if you would like students to have the option of anonymity. 
  • For an idea of how to do One-Minute Essays through Canvas, consider Manda Williamson and Cal Garbin's Minute Paper PDF from their CTT workshop "Teaching Strategies that Increase Instructor-Student Connection." 

Muddiest Point:

  • At the end of class, have students take out a piece of paper or index card and have them write out something specific about class that day. This could be questions, concerns, comments, points of interest, etc.
  • Collect all the cards as they leave the room and review before the next class.
  • This will allow you to see what topics may be good to revisit, what subject matter people are finding compelling, and how to move forward to address the needs of the class.
  • MIT's Mud Card video is a useful resource for getting started with this process.
  • The same online techniques from one-minute essays can be applied to this technique as well!

Idea Line Up/Four Corners:

  • Idea Line Up and Four Corners are quite similar. For both, before class come up with questions you want to ask about the current unit. In class, have all students stand and get ready to move around the room.
  • For Idea Line Up, have two possible options (examples: agree/disagree, true/false) and assign each option a side of the room (example: for "true," go to the left). Ask the predetermined questions and upon seeing the results, ask why people went to either side of the room.
  • For Four Corners, do the same thing as Idea Line Up, except assign each corner of the room a proposed answer. (example: write options for A, B, C, and D on the board and assign each a corner). Proceed the same way as you would with Idea Line Up.

Angelo, T.A. and Cross, K.P. (1993). "Classroom assessment techniques: a handbook for college teachers.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.