Planning an Effective Class Session

In this module, faculty learn how to effectively leverage each portion of a class session to positively impact student learning. The module includes techniques designed to begin class—the most critical learning time—with a powerful opening. Faculty also learn strategies to segment class sessions with student-active breaks and end by engaging students in summary activities.

To satisfy the module requirements, practicing faculty must apply the techniques to plan a class session with an effective start, middle, and end.

This module is one of five modules under ACUE’s unit on Designing an Effective Course and Class.

Advising Subject Matter Experts

Stephen Brookfield
John Ireland Endowed Chair
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota


Elizabeth Barkley
Professor, Music History
Foothill College

Module References

Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Fuchs, A. H. (1997). Ebbinghaus’s contributions to psychology after 1885. American Journal of Psychology, 110, 621–634.

Gazzaniga, M. S., Ivry, R. B., & Mangun, G. R. (2002). Cognitive neuroscience: The biology of the mind (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Norton.

Lang, J. M. (2008). On course: A week-by-week guide to your first semester of college teaching. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Medina, J. (2014). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and school (Updated and expanded 2nd ed.). Seattle, WA: Pear Press.

Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Sousa, D. A. (2011). How the brain learns (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Twigg, C. A. (2003). Improving learning and reducing costs: New models for online learning. EDUCAUSE Review, 38(5), 28–38.

Wieman, C. (2016). Observation guide for active-learning classroom. Retrieved from the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia website: