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Designing for deeper learning

Hi everyone!

This is my first posting here.  As a new instructional designer, I really appreciate all of your feedback on this discussion group - thanks!

I'd like to get some input from all of you on how you help instructors to push forward to deeper learning levels with their students.  Designing to enhance critical and creative thinking requires a lot of...critical and creative thinking! Smiley Happy 

One of the struggles I am facing is helping the faculty be okay with ambiguity and not having the "right" answer.

What are some methods that you use to help faculty move to this level, beyond the multiple choice quiz and standard prompt essay? What are some activities that you have found effective? Are there any Canvas tools that you find helps?



3 Replies

The Growth Mindset CanvasLIVE presentation was excellent - I highly recommend it for getting students to dig deeper.

Community Coach
Community Coach


One of the very simple things that I do in Canvas is make heavy use of Discussions. I use them to meet application, and other higher level outcomes and as a form of assessment, as well as for community participation and peer teaching.

One of the things I like to do quite often is to ask my students' opinion on current (and often controversial) topics related to what we are currently studying, and then ask them to support their opinions with cited research. One of the true joys of the internet from a teaching perspective, is that for any question you ask there can be a plethora of conflicting, yet well supported, answers. And then I ask them to participate in a meaningful way and professional manner with the postings of their classmates - and it's okay for them to disagree with each other, but it must be done professionally. In fact, in most of the discussions of this type, I require them to only respond to classmates who have a differing opinion.

Discussions are very powerful tools in online teaching/learning!

Here is a great site at the Duke University Center for Instructional Technology that talks about using online discussions to promote critical thinking that you might find useful.

And here is a somewhat more academic article from Greg Walker - Critical thinking in Asynchronous Discussions.

I hope this helps, even though not a particularly complete answer.


Community Member

Hi‌! Just this afternoon,‌ shared this blog post that sounds like it might be just the kind of thing you are looking for! 🙂

Discussion Questions for Statistics 

And there was also a really good ongoing discussion here last week:

Student Engagement in an Online Course 

The thing that has helped me most in terms of getting the students themselves to think beyond right-wrong what-does-the-teacher-want approaches (because if they've gotten used to that, it can be hard for them to go beyond also) is teaching about growth mindset; I have some materials about that here:

Growth Mindset CanvasLIVE – Teaching with Canvas 

I'm sure others here will have lots to say on this important topic, and thank you for posing the question! 🙂