Tips For Effective Teaching

Before The Semester Starts

  • Stay informed about best practices, trends in education , and KFUPM institution's mission, values, and strategic priorities. Consider how you might adopt best practices and advance your institution's and department's priorities.
  • Plan your course early. preparing for your course is an essential part of your duty as a faculty. Ensure that your course design adopts integrated course design approach. The approach emphasis that learning outcomes, assessments and teaching strategies should be aligned, in order for students to have significant learning experience. To learn more about integrated course design consult Dee Fink's Self-Directed Guide to Course Design (August 2005) [PDF].
  • Write your Syllabus. It very important that your students have easy access to the course syllabus on the first day of class. The syllabus provides a summary of the content to which learners will be exposed and that which will help students succeed. The content of your syllabus should include course content, learning objectives, assignments, projects and exams, office hours, course policy. You can obtain a sample of a course syllabus from your department chairman to aid you in developing your course syllabus.
  • Prepare for your first class. The first day of class is very crucial for both students and the instructor. The first day set the tone for the course. Use it to establish and communicate to the students your expectation and commitment to their learning process. Introduce yourself and collect information about your students. Review the syllabus with the students; highlighting the course requirements and important policies. Use the day to establish an atmosphere in which students will feel comfortable asking questions and contributing to discussion. Ask your students about their reasons for taking the class and what they hope to get out of it.

During Each Class Session

  • KFUPM encourages instructors adopt learner- centered teaching approach. Hence, instructors are expected to develop techniques that will facilitate learning, not just impact information. Learning can be facilitated by instructor pre-class preparation and planning as well as using variety of active learning techniques.
  • Develop your stock of active learning instructional strategies. The instructor's role has been changing from being a transmitter of knowledge to being a facilitator of student learning. To learn more about active learning strategies, consult Bean's (2001) Engaging Ideas (copy available at Deanship of Academic Development resource room) or Using Active Learning Instructional Strategies to Create Excitement and Enhance Learning.
  • Meet the needs of students with diverse learning backgrounds. Be clear about your expectations for students, and maintaining an atmosphere of respect for all students.
  • Make effort to motivate your students. Student motivation enhances student learning and thus maximize the benefits from your efforts. The best environment that motivates students is the one students feel valued, important, safe, secure and respected by creating an open and positive atmosphere through effective communication with students.
  • Gather formative feedback from your students to find out what they are learning and how you can better meet their needs. At the end of a class period, have them do a minute paper - ask them what the most important thing is that they learned in class and one question they still have. Details about the minute paper and other quick and easy techniques for obtaining feedback can be found in Angelo and Cross's (1993) Classroom Assessment Techniques (copies available at Deanship of Academic Development resource room).
  • Connect course content with real-world experiences. If you are working in a field related to the course you are teaching, sharing real-life applications of course concepts based on your experiences can be very enriching and interesting for students.
  • Show passion for the subject and for your students’ learning. showing that you are truly interested and excited about your teaching is most effective ways to inspire your students to learn
  • When responding to your students’ questions and comments, use both verbal and non-verbal cues to show them that you are listening and engaged. Do not use this time to look down at your notes or remind yourself of the next topic. Students can perceive these actions as indications that you are not truly listening to what they are saying.
  • Be flexible. Be prepared to have good days and bad days in the classroom. If you are not getting good results teaching in a particular way, try something new. For example, if the students in your section are extremely quiet, break them up into smaller groups to solve a problem or answer a set of questions.
  • If students appear bored, include more opportunities for active learning. Pause in the middle of class to have students ask and answer questions, provide examples, or solve problems.
  • When asking questions, do not be astonish of silence. Often, silence means that students are thinking. Do not give in to the temptation to end the silence by answering your own questions, which will only convince students that if they wait long enough, they will not have to think because you will supply the answers for them. Wait 5-10 seconds for an answer. If, at that point, you are getting blank stares and quizzical expressions, rephrase your question.
  • Collect mid-semester feedback from your students about how the course is going. Ask students to complete an anonymous survey asking them to identify aspects of the course that are helping them learn and to suggest improvements in the course to help them learn better. This will enable you to make mid-course adjustments to make it a better learning experience for your students, and it might enhance your end-of-semester teaching evaluations.
  • Work on strengthening your connections to your department and institution. Be responsive to contacts and requests from your department and college. If you would like to become more involved, be sure to let your department know.
  • Familiarize yourself with institutional policies and procedures. Some basics you need to know include the following:
    • how to report student violations of academic integrity (cheating or plagiarizing)
    • reporting disruptive student behavior
    • attendance requirements
    • withdrawing and adding classes
    • grading scales
  • Learn to use Blackboard. KFUPM students and Faculty members use Blackboard, an online learning management system, LMS. Instructors use Blackboard to assist with course administration, such as posting materials, sending announcements, conducting online exams and quizzes, posting schedules, and more. If you are new to Blackboard, you can learn through the resources available on the Blackboard website, which can be accessed using the following URL with your KFUPM username and password. . The Learning Technology center is also available to help you get started. Call 1630 / 3051 or send email:

Take Advantage Of The Resources Available To You

Consult with your Colleagues. The greatest asset available to you are your colleagues. Ask them about what you can expect of from KFUPM students. Find out from colleagues that have taught your course previously to provide helpful insights about teaching the course and teaching in general (what works and what doesn’t).

Learn about and participate in Academic Development Activities. The Teaching and Learning Center professional-development activities for faculty include workshops, seminars, Peer-Consulting in Teaching etc. For more details call 1558 or send email to

Recommended Readings

  • Faculty handbook
  • Davis, Barbara Gross. Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993
  • Increasing Student Motivation at:
  • Angelo, Thomas A. ,Classroom assessment techniques : a handbook for college, Jossey-Bass, 1993
  • Bean, John C. Engaging ideas : the professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom, Jossey-Bas, 2001