Building KU's Teaching and Learning Community

2-Minute Mentor: Optimizing Class Time

Class time

  • How can I ensure that students are prepared for class?
  • What are ways to encourage participation?
  • How do I know if students are “getting it”?

Click below to watch CTE’s 2-Minute Mentor video on this topic:

Optimizing Class Time & Engaging Students video transcript (doc)

Engaging Students

Student engagement eludes easy definition but is easy to spot when we see it. Students are prepared for class. They listen attentively and ask questions. They put time into their work outside of class. In short, they show a strong interest in learning course material.

One powerful strategy for promoting student engagement is active learning. Following are just a few ideas you might try at the beginning, middle, and end of a class to increase student engagement. 


Introducing the lesson
Get their attention from the start

Ask students to respond to a question or problem.

Share an image, video clip, news item, or concept related to the topic of the day.

Connect the unfamiliar with something familiar for students.

During the lesson
Ask students to engage

Pose a question and ask students to share their response with another student (aka Think/Pair/Share).

Ask students to reflect and briefly write about an issue or problem.

Give a mini-quiz to test comprehension.

Ask students to analyze a case or complete some other task in small groups.

Concluding the lesson
Reinforce the take-away idea

Return to a problem raised at the beginning of class.

Ask a student to summarize the take-away idea.

Elicit feedback on learning with a CAT (Classroom Assessment Technique, such as Muddiest Point)


Using class time well

The following links provide more information about using class time well:

Additional materials are available in CTE’s Essential Guide to Teaching.

These portfolios in the CTE Gallery illustrate effective uses of class time:

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News & Notes

See how CTE is leading the shift to flexible teaching at KU.

Visit the Flex Teaching sitewhich provides help for creating flexible courses that can shift between in-person and online.