Best & Worst Experiences

Time required: Short

Grading: Minimal or none

Disciplines: Best for classes prone to student “emotional baggage” (e.g. math, science, writing)

Why: Bringing up past experiences can help prepare students for new learning.  It also gives you the opportunity to allay fears, address concerns, and suggest strategies for a successful outcome in your class, as well as promote connections between your students.

How: Ask students to describe their best and/or worst experience in a previous class in your discipline.  They should also indicate why those experiences were good or bad.  You can use these responses in various ways:

  • Have students post to a discussion board and ask for replies to fellow students who shared a similar experience
  • Have students share their experiences in small groups and have the group choose a best and worst to share with the class

You can prepare a response to post on the board or present in a subsequent class, and/or reach out individually to students with reassurance and guidance to help ensure a good experience in your class.