What is on the Agenda?
16 November 2022
Letting students know the agenda for each of your class sessions will help your students to be more mentally prepared.
Communicating the agenda, or plan, for the class session (i.e., lecture, workshop, tutorial, lab) can help to ease student anxiety, create the feeling of a safe learning environment, and help students to focus (Philips et al., 2017). It will also inform students of when active participation will be expected.
Make your agenda visible to students at the beginning of the class session. You could have an agenda slide on the screen to welcome students as they enter the physical or virtual room, or you could bring up an agenda slide after you recap the previous session and introduce the current session.
Spending a few minutes to review the plan with your students is beneficial and allows you to connect the learning outcomes to the class session, which can help to demonstrate to students how the class session will support their learning. Reviewing the agenda also provides you with an opportunity to emphasise items.
Writing an agenda has benefits for you as well, helping you to be more organised for the class session, plan your time and stay on task (Lewis, 2015). The agenda will highlight the balance between content delivery or information transfer and active learning activities. You can then think about whether you have the right balance and whether there are some additional opportunities to introduce an active learning activity and engage students.
Suggested items to include in your class session agenda are:
- Recap of the previous class session
- The topic for the current class session and where it fits in the module (or group of topics)
- Content delivery or information transfer
- Tasks that students will be asked to actively participate in, either individually or in groups
- Any planned breaks (especially important for longer class sessions)
Noting the time (in minutes) that you intend to allocate to each agenda item is useful. However, keep in mind that you may need to modify this during the class session. Try to use language in your agenda that aligns with the learning outcomes for the class session, topic and/or module (e.g., discuss, review, explain, describe, apply, use).
Here is an example of an agenda:
Recap of Topic 1: Stakeholders (5 mins)
Introduction to Topic 2: Stakeholder information needs, uses, and sources (5 mins)
Explain the concepts of stakeholder power and influence (5 mins)
Complete a stakeholder grid – in groups of 3 (10 mins)
Discuss the main uses of information and where information can be sourced (10 mins)
Identify the information needs of various stakeholders – in pairs (10 mins)
Summary of Topic 2 (5 mins)
With benefits for both you and your students, have a go at including an agenda in your next class session.
Lewis, N. (2015). Daily agendas: The key to organizing the classroom. Journal on Best Teaching Practices, 2(1), 7–9.
Philips, L. A., Baltzer, C., Filoon, L., & Whitley, C. (2017). Adult student preferences: Instructor characteristics conducive to successful teaching. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 1–12.