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New Year, New Course Goals

NicoleHiers
Instructure
Instructure
6 0 323

 

New Year, New Course Goals

Starting the Year Off Right

What’s Included in This Post?
• Goal Setting Framework
• Resources for Successful Implementation
• Real-World Scenarios and Sample Goals
• SMART Goal Setting Template

 

The "Why"

I don’t know about you, but New Year’s resolutions always seem to be short-lived; drink more water, lose weight, wake up early… New habits are difficult for me to form- goals seem unachievable. Maybe I get lazy. Maybe I’ve not been setting them right. Or maybe I don’t have a measurable action plan. 

I’ve realized that New Year’s resolutions are far less effective than focused goals. Our ID team came together recently to talk about our goals but wanted to be SMART (pun intended) about how we implemented them. @SasaStojic introduced many of us to the idea of setting SMART goals, which got me thinking- why can’t we set SMART goals to support our classrooms (whether online, hybrid, or in-person)?

 

SMART Goals

SMART goals are “statements of the important results you are working to accomplish” (University of California, 2016). They are “designed in a way to foster clear and mutual understanding of what constitutes expected levels of performance and successful professional development” (University of California, 2016). In other words, SMART goals allow us to set clear and measurable expectations for the goals we wish to pursue. We can build accountability and measurable actions with goal setting in just a few simple steps.

Framework:

S

Specific

What will be accomplished? What actions will you take?

M

Measurable

What data will measure the goal? (How much? How well?)

A

Achievable

Is the goal doable? Do you have the necessary skills and resources?

R

Relevant

How does the goal align with broader goals? Why is the result important?

T

Time-Bound

What is the time frame for accomplishing the goal?

(Content from University of California, 2016)

  • Specific goals must be actionable and measurable! Consider using Bloom’s Taxonomy vocabulary to develop higher-order thinking (HOT) goals. You may even consider using this easy learning objectives generator as you get more comfortable with building these goals.
  • Measurable goals must yield a comparison. Consider using New Analytics, Pre- & Post-Assessments, student Self-Surveys, or Course Surveys in your course to determine growth.
  • Achievable goals are imperative! Do you have all of the necessary skills needed to meet your goal? Without the foundational knowledge, setting a baseline platform would be too challenging. If you find yourself aiming for a goal seemingly beyond your reach, take a step back and analyze the foundational goals necessary to achieve your goal.
  • Relevant goals must yield an improved process. Are there people in the past who have changed the process of your particular goal? If so, what was their success? Can you apply the success of your goal to the process of your greater goals?
  • Time-bound goals must have a deadline. Without clarity of time, the specificity of the goal gets lost. A short-term goal is usually measured within 1-3 months, while a long-term goal is measured in 6 or more months. In this process, feedback is essential. Shorter time frames, or checkpoints, are recommended to monitor progress. Remember, it takes 3-4 weeks to recognize if a habit is changing! If you aren’t seeing a change within this time frame, take the time to re-evaluate each element of your SMART goal.
"Classroom" Goals

I surveyed a group of educators from my own personal social media to find out some priorities for teachers this year; what’s important, and what are you trying to accomplish this year? Many of my former colleagues commented with the priority to survive this year. With the current state of education, I’m not surprised. In fact, it reminded me of the gap that exists between the support teachers need, and what they sometimes receive. Hopefully, with deliberate planning, we can achieve much more than just survival. Hopefully, we can thrive with specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals that can support our personal goals and those that serve our learners. Beyond the priority to survive, my former colleagues expressed a need to fill learning gaps and to foster a love for learning through student engagement in their “classrooms”. Let’s take some of these goals and turn them into SMART goals, where we can measure our progress toward accomplishment.

Steps to Setting "Classroom" Goals

Step 1

  • Before jumping into your “classroom” goals, ensure you have everything you need to set the proper foundation. Remember, your goals need to be achievable! If your goals will be implemented in Canvas, make sure you apply the design basics.

Step 2

  • Define your major goals and work on one at a time. According to K. Francis from eLearning Industry (2018), some of the major goals of eLearning are to “enhance the quality of learning and teaching, meet the learning style or needs of students, improve the efficiency and effectiveness [of instruction], and improve use-accessibility and time flexibility to engage learners in the learning process”. These are examples of general goals. Take the time to consider a specific goal you can measure (examples to follow).

Step 3

  • Analyze the broader importance and implications of reaching your goal. Why does this goal matter to you? Understanding the lasting impact of your goal makes it much easier to commit to it fully.

Step 4

  • Determine how you will measure your progress in achieving this goal. There must be a starting point and an ending point. 

Step 5

  • Set a realistic time frame for your goal. It is best to build in checkpoints to reevaluate and revisit your action plan. 

Examples

Explore the scenario-based SMART goals below for a better idea of how to address your own classroom goals

Filling Learning Gaps

Ms. Watts teaches eighth-grade English. Recent data from the students’ mid-year diagnostic shows that many of her students are three years behind in reading comprehension, despite her prior efforts in academic intervention. She would like to focus on filling learning gaps for her students as her SMART goal. Ms. Watts analyzes the resources available to her to ensure that she can be successful in achieving her goal. She also recognizes that her broader goal is to not only bring her students back up to the grade-level standard but to also challenge them beyond the status quo. She reminds herself to take baby steps and begins building her SMART goal.

S

Specific

By implementing a tiered system of support, students will demonstrate a 25% growth in a specified area of concern (dependent on student needs) from the mid-year diagnostic to the progress check-in. 

M

Measurable

I will begin with the data from the mid-year diagnostic to determine the starting point for each student. The progress check-in, administered through Canvas Quizzes, will measure the specific area of concern in which each student receives support. 

A

Achievable

I feel successful and prepared with resources and support from my administrative team to provide a multi-tiered system of support for my students. 

R

Relevant

By supporting my students through this process, they will not only gain the necessary skills to begin filling their learning gaps, but they will also become more confident and motivated to continue on their learning journey.

T

Time-Bound

Each area of concern will be reevaluated at 4 weeks. I will revisit the goal with each student at this time. 

 
Survival

The pandemic has not made it easy for teachers across the globe to feel successful in their position. Mr. Matten has started to feel like each day is more challenging to finish than the last. For Mr. Matten, it is taking every ounce of effort to make it through each day. He sits down to develop a SMART goal.

S

Specific

I will record one part of each day that brings me joy in my career in a journal. 

M

Measurable

I will show success in implementation if I can record one joyful part of my day, each day, for three weeks. 

A

Achievable

Because of my current mental state, finding one thing each day that sparks joy is enough to make me feel more positive about my position. 

R

Relevant

If I can continue to see the positives in my career, I will feel more satisfied in my role. My long-term goal would be to develop boundaries in the areas that do not bring me joy in my career, but I must first recognize the things that do.

T

Time-Bound

I will read through all of the things that I’ve recorded at the end of each week. After three weeks, I will determine if I’m ready to move on to a new SMART goal.

 
Student Engagement

Mrs. Hall has been utilizing Canvas for five years. She feels confident in her skills when it comes to content development. However, she would like to grow in how she presents the content to her fifth-grade students. For her first SMART goal, Mrs. Hall wants to focus on increasing student engagement utilizing Canvas Studio.

S

Specific

I will implement Studio quizzes and commenting features to increase student engagement with Canvas Studio videos. 

M

Measurable

I will measure student engagement using New Analytics to gain a starting point and record whether students are more engaged after implementing Canvas Studio interactions.

A

Achievable

I have the foundational skills to accomplish this goal. If I have trouble implementing these Studio changes, I feel comfortable reaching out to my Canvas support team.

R

Relevant

This is just the beginning of making my course more engaging. After increasing engagement through Canvas Studio, I will research and implement different Canvas LTIs to enhance my students’ experiences. 

T

Time-Bound

I will collect data in three weeks to determine if the Studio engagement enhancements are an effective tool for my students. 

 
Resources

Click on the images below to access the editable and/or printable SMART goals templates.

Editable SMART goals TemplateEditable SMART goals TemplatePrintable SMART goals PDFPrintable SMART goals PDF

References

Blooms Taxonomy. 2021. What is Bloom’s taxonomy? https://bloomstaxonomy.net/

Francis, K. 2018. Major goals and expectations of eLearning. https://elearningindustry.com/goals-and-expectations-of-elearning-major

Thomas, A. & Thorne, G. 2009. How to increase higher level thinking. https://mycll.org/how-to-increase-high-order-thinking/

University of California. 2016. SMART Goals: A how to guide. https://www.ucop.edu/local-human-resources/_files/performance-appraisal/How%20to%20write%20SMART%20G...

Final Thoughts

 

There are so many ways to approach a new goal-- this is only one! I encourage you to take the time to try something out of your comfort zone. Start small and don't give up! With the right tools and mindset, we can our permanent and healthy habits to enrich each day. If you have been successful in implementing new course and/or personal goals, we'd love to hear your success stories and celebrate with you!

 

Please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

Our Instructional Design team offers templates, consultation, badging services, course evaluations, workshops, and more. If you would like to learn more about our services, please contact your CSM or @deonne_johnson, Manager, Learning Services, via djohnson@instructure.com