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The fourth activity in the Ontario Extend MOOC is to think about what motivates students to come to class and to engage with course material? It is easy to think:

  • You need it for your future career
  • To earn your diploma
  • You will perform this task in the work world

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The truth is I am competing with many other priorities. Many of my students are parents, work many hours at their jobs, commute from out-of-town, are new to Canada (and the climate) look after older relatives and the lists goes on.

In this module we are to consider the following:

  1. Student’s prior knowledge
  2. Why do student’s want to learn something new?
  3. Relevance for students to future activities and future classes

In my health-care communication’s class, I ascertain student’s prior knowledge through the breakdown of a small case study. The case studies are common communication interactions that many of my students will have encountered as a “consumer of health care” through life experience. As we apply course content to the case study students have an opportunity to share their own experiences and perceptions to what is happening in the case study. Boehmer & Linsky (1990) ascertain that when using a case study method that students are engaged with the material not merely reading it.

Why do student’s want to learn something new? If they relate to the case study then they can apply the communication tools (that they are learning) to communicate effectively the next time they encounter a similar situation. Referring to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) theory this optimizes the value for the student because they can use it in their every-day life (UDL Guidelines, 2019)

Relevance for future activities and classes. If the students come to class and participate in breaking down the case studies they are well prepared for assessments. If students feel they can be successful they are motivated to come. By ensuring that students can clearly see the connection between assessment and class lessons students are confident in their success.

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Boehrer, J. and M. Linsky. “Teaching with Cases: Learning to Question.” In M.D. Svinicki (ed.), The Changing Face of College Teaching. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 42. San Francisco,: Jossey-Bass, 1990

eCampus Ontario. (2019). EXTEND 101-EN.1 – Extend MOOC. Module 1: Teacher for Learning Motivation.

CAST (2018). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2. Retrieved from

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