Saturday 8 April 2023



What is challenge-based education? How can it contribute to students’ learning? How it differ from project-based and problem-based education? These questions are answered in DCU page.

How to organize challenge-based education? Use this teaching template to plan your challenge-based curriculum. This challenge-based cavas may also give some inspirations on how to guide students in challenge-based education.
A series of videos (online sessions) for lectures to get to know more about what CBL is and how to implement it:


 Teaching online does not mean a simple copy of face-to-face teaching activities in a virtual environment. By encouraging teachers to adopt various digital tools, the EMVITET project aims at opening teachers’ view in designing and implementing alternative forms of teaching methods as well as assessment methods to realize truly student-centered education. In this page, concrete examples and ideas are given for teachers to be inspired.

Alternative e-assessment

Contingency planning: exploring rapid alternatives to face-to-face assessment

Sally Brown and Kay Sambell wrote a Quick Guide which aims to offer some suggestions to make rapid adjustments in case of switching to online teaching due to corona. The intention behind the guide is to assure the standards of students’ achievements in an emergency situation. However, it needs to be recognised that, in ideal circumstances, none of these would be quick fixes but are likely to need considerable planning, training and activity on behalf of the university to ensure they are viable for staff and students. Any alternatives should endeavour to “be as close as possible to the current unit running in face-to-face mode” and should maintain the balance of formative and summative assessment, as well as being inclusive, accessible, valid and reliable.

Read the quick guide

Selecting Online Alternatives to Common Assessment Methods

While some assessment components do not need significant adjustment in the move to online (including at-distance) learning, others require some additional thought and may need to be replaced/significantly adjusted. The National Forum conducted a review of assessment practices across Irish higher education in 2016, exploring 487 modules and 1260 separate assessments across 30 programmes of study. This review highlighted the most commonly used assessment methods across the sector. In support of the move to online assessment, this resource provides some indication of the kind of modifications that could be made for these common assessments. It is not an exhaustive list, but we hope it may be helpful in considering some of the available options.

Read the guide

Over 20 ideas for alternative assessments which can be completed online.

Creative Assignment Ideas for Teaching at a Distance

Bard Centre for Experimental Humanities 


5 Tips for designing online assessments

Creative Methods of Assessment in Online Learning 

Centre for Teaching and Learning

Guidance on assessments requiring students to record audio or video.

How can I use podcasts and videos? 

King’s College London


 When talking about student-centered learning, for many teachers, motivation seems to be a key issue that determines whether or not students can fully engage in their learning processes. In this page, we will introduce 2 blogs with the intention to illustrate the link between motivation and learning. This blog offers some strategies for stimulating motivation to learn. 

Science of Motivation

By Kou Murayama

If you are motivated, you learn better and remember more of what you learned. This sounds like an obvious fact, but our lab showed that the reality is more nuanced. The critical fact is that not all motivations are created equal… Continue reading.


By Paul A. Kirschner & Mirjam Neelen 

Motivation, engagement, commitment, drive, grit … Some people seem to be obsessed with these concepts. For them, they’re like magic wands that can solve almost all of the problems in education or learning in general and/or are primary objectives for education and learning. In this blog, the authors argued that it’s not really very useful to choose a learning approach in which learners are very engaged, where they possibly learn something along the way, but are spending a lot of – often wasted time – to get there. Studying / learning that way is not only inefficient, but it can also be very demotivating in the end. Even if learners are engaged at first and are enjoying the learning experience but not really getting anywhere, after a while they’ll probably think “Why am I doing this?” “What the heck am I doing?”, “What’s in it for me?” 

The initial motivation will only be maintained if it goes hand in hand with positive results (positive reinforcement; remember that?). Without positive result, demotivation or amotivation follows, or, worst case scenario, the learner will feel helpless and stop… Continue reading


 To deploy student-centered learning, we shall first understand how human beings learn - The basic science of learning

Student-centered learning environments emphasize constructing personal meaning by relating new knowledge to existing conceptions and understandings. It is the central focus of the EMVITET project. To support learning (i.e. helping students reconstruct given information), give students opportunities and support them to solve problems through the use of available resources and tools is one of the ways of designing student-centered instruction. In this sense, technology is seen as a means to promote access to resources and tools that facilitate construction. 

In addition, in the perspective of student-centered learning, learning is seen as a dynamic process of “reflection-in-action” where students are expected to take actions in leading the learning direction, pace and focus. Hence, stimulating students’ reflection & self-regulation become a central focus of learning & teaching. Eportfolio can be a useful tool to stimulate self-reflection and monitoring. By creating their own learning portfolios, students track their progress and difficulties. Such a monitoring process can help them self-regulate their learning behaviour and seek help to reach targets. This DCU presentation offers a brief introduction on what eportfolio is and how it can contribute to student-centered learning.

Extra Resource

In order to help you understand better what “student-centered” learning means,  a few extra readings are recommended. This article discussed the foundations and assumptions of technology-enhanced student-centered learning environments (Hannafin & Land, 1997).  This web information summarized Merrills’s first instructional design principles which suggests that to enable student-centered learning, teachers shall think about various learning activities (demonstration, activating prior knowledge, application and integration) by engaging students in different learning tasks (i.e. solving diverse problems). In the aforementioned webpage, not only the 5 principles are explained, possible applications are also suggested. For more ideas on how to implement Merrill’s design principles to create student-centered learning you can also have a look at this webpage and this article (especially table 1, p.6-8). The above info can provide a solid background and concrete tips for anyone who is interested in adopting student-centered teaching.


 he European Lifelong Learning Initiative defines Lifelong Learning as “a continuously supportive process which stimulates and empowers individuals to acquire all the knowledge, values, skills and understanding they will require throughout their lifetimes and to apply them with confidence, creativity and enjoyment, in all roles circumstances, and environments” (Watson, 2003). As it is so fundamental for the professional and personal development for teachers and students, life-long learning ability is considered as a key competence that is highlighted in the EMVETE project.

The definition of life-long learning implies that the ability for a person to be able to define his/her own learning path and act on his/her environment is fundamental for successful lifelong learning. Hence, from a lifelong-learning perspective, developing students’ metacognition /self-regulated learning ability shall be a central focus of teaching. This means that teachers shall not only focus on subjective content but also on explicitly teaching students learning strategies, with the aim of stimulating and developing self-regulation (i.e. being able to set personal goals, select and deploy learning techniques, learn to self-monitor their own learning process and being reflective and willing to make adaptations whenever necessary).



By Surma and his co-authors

Productive strategies make learners actively process the subject matter. The result of actively engaging in learning can be various products created by the learner, such as an explanation, a summary or a schema, all of which make the learner learn the subject matter more deeply as compared to, for example, more passive rereading. Actively processing information can be done individually but also in collaboration. It’s important to use these strategies at the right moment and even more so to teach learners how to use them. In the blog, the authors discuss a few strategies and correctly point out that not all strategies are suitable for all types of content. They also stress that it’s important to teach learners about these strategies. 



By Surma and his co-authors

Teach learners how to organise, monitor, evaluate, and adjust their own learning process (i.e., self-regulation) and which learning strategies to use when they study independently. In this chapter the authors stress the importance of teaching learners how to self-regulate their learning as both self-regulation and applying effective learning/study strategies are vital to the learning process.

Read the blog

Other scientific literature

For anyone who wants to explore more on how to develop life-long learning ability, a number of scientific literature is recommended. Some of them give detailed explanations on the concept of self-regulated learning (SRL) and metacognition, whereas others offer practical tips on how to develop students’ SRL via feedback and how to teach learning techniques (metacognition).

Fostering Thoughtful Self-Direction in Students

Formative Assessment and Self-Regulated Learning: A Model and Seven Principles of Good Feedback Practice

Critical thinking as a self-regulatory process component in teaching and learning

Measuring Self-Regulated Learning



“Inverting the classroom means that events that have traditionally taken place inside the classroom now take place outside the classroom and vice versa.”

The flipped-classroom model prepares students for the class, so that you can zoom during the contact time on the application and deeper processing of the essential content. Students can also process the subject matter afterwards using, for instance, videos. This is the reverse (hence the name 'flipped') of the traditional model , in which the first introduction to the subject matter occurs during the contact hours and the processing takes place afterwards. There are various concrete interpretations of the flipped classroom model (see 'Getting started: concrete implementation of your flipped classroom').


- The flipped class model can lead to a (more) efficient and effective use of the contact time.

- You can respond more to the prior knowledge of your students, because you have more insight into and control over this prior knowledge (after all, this prior knowledge is the result of your chosen preparation).

- You can quickly identify misconceptions and point this out to the students during the contact moment.

- You can give students better and timely targeted feedback .

- You can use working methods that stimulate higher order learning activities. In this way you focus on learning objectives such as applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating.

This model has received increasing attention in higher education in recent years. The model is not new, but the possibilities of recent technologies are breathing new life into the model. Moreover, the model seems to be an appropriate answer to the oversupply of 'classical lectures'. These are valuable for learning objectives such as memorization and understanding, but appear to be less effective for, among other things, long retention of knowledge, the application of knowledge to new contexts, the development of higher-order thought processes and motivation.


The 'Quick Start Guide' from the University of Texas (UT) in Austin helps you to make your flipped classroom a reality. Five steps are included. You will find guiding questions and concrete options per step. We list the five steps (briefly) and complete them. For further information we refer to the guide.

1. Identify where the flipped classroom model makes the most sense for your course

The UT guide gives some questions that can help you with this. When looking at where the flipped classroom model makes the most sense for your OPO, generally consider these aspects:

- Make the learning objectives and goals of the contact moments more concrete : Does the flipped class model match the learning objectives of your OPO? What do you expect from your students during the contact moment: that they can apply, analyze, evaluate theories or start working on them yourself?

- Know your target audience: What are the metacognitive skills of your students? For example, master students are more experienced in working independently, while bachelor students often need more guidance (support).

- Know your OPO: Teachers who switch to the flipped class model indicate that you need to know the content of your OPO before you can make the switch. You must be able to select relevant topics to make your instruction and contact time as relevant as possible.

2. Spend class time engaging students in application activities with feedback ('homework')

If students have already processed (part of) the course material outside of the contact moments, the details of your contact moment will change. The UT guide makes a distinction between the (general) working methods, evaluation strategies and technologies that you can use for this.

- The UT guide describes the following working methods: Peer Instruction, Team-based Learning (TBL), Case-based Learning and Process-oriented Guided Inquiry Learning. Other options include organizing group discussions, using a concept map or having students do a presentation themselves. In all these work forms, the focus is on the student's activity.

- Group discussion: Have students discuss a specific topic in small groups and present their main findings in a plenary session.

- Concept map: have students create a concept map and present it to each other or plenary.

- Student presentations: let students introduce certain parts to each other (you can focus on both understanding and application / critical reflection), use a system where students can give each other feedback after the presentation.

- The UT guide mentions the use of evaluation strategies during the contact moment because of these benefits;

- Students gain insight into what they are not yet fully aware of or capable of.

- During the contact moment, lecturers gain insight into the thoroughness of the preparation / the effect of the instruction.

- It stimulates students to come prepared and to participate.

- You can evaluate students during the contact moment by, for example, using the technology clickers or a bring-your-own device system. This technology allows (large groups of) students to vote. Other examples of technology during your contact moment are student videos : let students  produce a video  or knowledge clip about a certain subject during several contact moments. They can use the multimedia lending service for this .

Tip: Use the contact time to give feedback.

3. Clarify connections between inside and outside of class learning

The UT guide describes three phases in the flipped classroom model: the activities before the contact moment, during the contact moment and after the contact moment. Try to get as clear as possible the focus of each of these moments.

What do you want your students to know or be able to do after the preparation (that they were unable to do before)? The answer to this question is your concrete learning objectives of the preparation. Check to what extent these are linked to the learning objectives of your contact moment. Watch the video below for the experiences of the UT teachers.

4. Adapt your materials for students to acquire course content in preparation of class ('lecture')

The supporting learning material plays an important role in a flipped classroom. What you ask for in preparation can take various forms. Make a distinction between the content (what: an article, a video, a chapter from the handbook) and the preparatory activity and the level you expect from students (how: screening, reading comprehension, studying, looking up something yourself ...).

For example:

- Provide a specific reading instruction for an article / manual. This can be a preparation for group work or a discussion about that article.

- Have students submit questions about the material they need to prepare [6]. Indicate which questions you expect (e.g. knowledge questions, insight questions, application questions).

- Give students a schedule / outline and ask them to read that section in the textbook that describes the concepts in this schedule (and the relationships between them).

- Give students some core concepts that are described in a supporting text. Ask them to master the meaning of the concepts.

- Ask students to describe the core of a selected text / chapter of the textbook in ten sentences .

- Give students the task itself a schedule / overview of the selected text / to chapter.

- Ask students to find in current events / daily life an example of what is described in the selected text / article.

- Give students exercises they are expected to be able to do. Consider whether you provide them with the solution key (for example, this can also be done just before or after the contact moment).

- Make use of existing audiovisual material, such as expert interviews, documentaries or knowledge clips from colleagues. You can find such materials via YouTubeVimeoTED, or Creative Commons. It is best to give a viewing instruction, for example a series of reflection questions in preparation for a (group) discussion.

- Make your own (series) knowledge clip (s)  about the theories or concepts to be discussed.

- Use lesson recordings that explain certain concepts and theories.

- Create a foreknowledge test  that gives you insight into how far students are.


- State clearly how students should prepare: are they expected to screen the text, or read it in detail, or already master it, ...?

- Consider how you can spend your time efficiently: will you mainly invest time in creating new material (eg video material) or in looking up and structuring existing (online) material?

- Take into account the study skills of your target group [5]. For example, remember that first year bachelor students are not yet accustomed to independently processing a scientific text, or to formulating questions of insight about the subject matter.

- Familiarize students with the material. It is crucial that it is clear to them what is expected, how the material is related, where the priorities lie. This can be done, for example, by:

+ making a study guide , in which it is clearly indicated for each contact moment what is expected of students, which material they must study in preparation, and which material needs to be deepened, but also why the study material is important for the next contact moment.

+ making one or more knowledge clips, in which certain study materials (for example scientific articles) are placed in the context of the OPO, or where it is explained what students should focus on.

5. Extend learning beyond class through individual and collaborative practice

During the contact moments, students are given space to apply new contents, but they may still need practice (and feedback) after the contact moments. This last step in the UT guide would like to dwell on how you can monitor this as a lecturer. For example, provide extra exercises or offer in-depth material, maintain a discussion forum.


- Do not add, but integrate! A fallacy in the transition to the flipped classroom model is that you just have to decide what preparation you ask from students. However, it is necessary to adjust the entire setup (preparation and interpretation of your contact moment).

- Motivate your students! Communicate clearly about the how, what and why of the preparation you expect from students. In this video, teachers testify about the roles and expectations that change in a flipped classroom. Students must be able to estimate that the preparation is important - and that it is indeed necessary for the contact moments. So make a clear link between the nature of the preparation and the use of the contact time. Options to increase motivation include working with bonus points or an online test after each preparation.

- Provide regular and sufficient feedback. In addition to the fact that feedback is important for the learning process, it is also an important factor in the perception of students about the relevance of the details of the contact moment. Discussing assignments is especially crucial in this regard. Read more about the general principles of feedback, and specifically about giving feedback to large groups.

- Make use of course description in your communication with your students. 

- Do the students have enough time for your approach? Most teachers reduce the number of contact hours when they require more preparatory work from students. In addition, it is also advisable to check which other course units students are required to take. Coordination between course units about interim deadlines and time investment is crucial.

- Match your model to the evaluation. Make sure that the work you request from students during the semester translates into better chances of passing the exam. When students see this link clearly, they will be more motivated to do the preparation. Consider whether you reward the students with bonus points or continuous evaluation.

Watch an example video of flipped classroom


 The EMVITET project intends to support teachers to make maximum benefits of technology. Designing online/blended courses are the expected outcomes of the EMVITET teachers. In this page, some resources are offered as they contain useful and practical tips for designing and constructing good online/blended courses.

Ten Tips for Emergency Remote Teaching

by Paul A. Kirschner

Instructional techniques involved in online teaching are not (completely) the same as what we do in the classroom during face-to-face education. In this blog, the author summarized 10 essential principles for ensuring the effectiveness of online teaching & learning... Read more


Constructive alignment- A key design principle for good (online) courses

By KULleuven

'Constructive alignment' starts with the notion that the learner constructs his or her own learning through relevant learning activities. The teacher's job is to create a learning environment that supports the learning activities appropriate to achieving the desired learning outcomes. The key is that all components in the teaching system - the curriculum and its intended outcomes, the teaching methods used, the assessment tasks - are aligned to each other.

See detailed explanation offered in this prezi presentation


Online course design approach: using flipped classroom

By KULleuven

One way of designing a good online course is to carefully use flipped classroom approach. What is flipped classroom, why it can be beneficial and how to design such classes, please find more in this page.


Planning for Effective Remote Teaching During Covid 



Consider Communication & Engagement 


To organize good online courses, one needs to consider carefully the communication and engagement strategies. In this blog 5 tips are illustrated.


Implementing good online courses: What does it look like?


This infographic illustrates the attention points concerning 6 key aspects of an online course and possible ways/tools to run an online course. Read the pdf to know more in detail.

Available online modules/courses

Teaching & learning on higher education


Modules were collaboratively developed by Queen’s University, Western University, and the University of Waterloo, with support from eCampusOntario. The underlying principle of the six modules is that they are applicable across disciplines, and other institutions regardless of the structure and programs already developed for graduate students on teaching and learning. Our goal in developing these modules was to leverage the advantages of the online environment to better prepare graduate students and to decrease the resources and time required for frequent and lengthy in-class components.

 The entire course of six modules as well as each individual module and are available on this website as open educational resources in editable formats so that other institutions can adopt, contextualize and personalize them, or use them in their entirety. For more information, see the following Information Page.



How To Teach Online: Providing Continuity for Students

This module starts by finding the most pressing challenge teachers need to address in designing and running online course(s).

Making blended education work

This course intends to help you:

  1. Identify the maturity of your blended learning practice

  2. Advance your blended learning practice

  3. Recognise factors in the wider context of the political landscape and digital transformation

Ps. You need to register in futurelearning platform in order to enjoy all free online courses.

Instructional design literature 

Do you want to know more about effective design principles and strategies to design good online courses? Have a look at these open-source articles:

17 design principles that all teachers shall know

Research-Informed Principles for (Re)designing Teaching and Learning Spaces

Instructional design models for well-structured and III-structured problem-solving learning outcomes

Applying learning theories and instructional design models for effective instruction

For anyone who wants to dig more into problem-based teaching & learning, these two articles are worth reading. 

Toward a Design Theory of Problem Solving

Perspectives on Problem Solving and Instruction