Bridging the Gap Between Students' Lives Inside and Outside the Classroom: Using Personas for Course Development
Concurrent Session 3
Students’ lives outside the course environment affect performance in class. During this conversational session, participants role play student personas that drive instructional designers & faculty to make adjustments to courses. These tweaks help create the class community, autonomy, and satisfaction that might be the bridge to success for your learners.
Have you heard the one about the Uber driver who offers his riders a menu? It’s no joke! Perhaps you might choose the menu option of “The Stand-up Ride”, where the driver will tell you something funny (at least to him) or perhaps the “Silent Ride” suits you better?
What type of “ride” would your students choose if they had a menu of options? Have you ever encountered the “Leave Me Alone” student who is only taking your class because it’s required? How about the “I’m Busy” student?
Meet Clare, a 37 year old, busy mom of two teenagers. She was recently laid off from her job and her end goal is to find a new one. Clare supplements her severance package (lucky lady!) by working as a consultant part-time but has decided now is the time to work toward an advanced degree.
Clare is one of several personas you will meet during this conversational session where session groups will fulfill the role of a given student persona to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented in a variety of scenarios. Getting to know a bit about your students early on allows time to make small adjustments in your course that can help students be successful.
Scenario 1: Start of Semester
Class begins September 1; today is August 15
Describe some things your student persona will do between now and when class starts.
Name a few things your student would like to know before class starts.
Scenario 2: Content Delivery
The instructor’s style is to deliver a synchronous lecture for 45 minutes with an invitation for Q & A at the end.
How does your student persona react to this learning environment?
What other means of achieving the lecture objectives might suit your student?
Scenario 3: Assessment
An assessment activity early in the course allows students to choose their submission type. Options include:
Write a blog post
Create a slide deck
Write a 2 page paper
Lead a forum discussion with fellow students on a relevant topic
Collaborate with student peer(s) to develop video presentation
- Which activity does your student choose and why?
Session Game Plan
1. Introduction (10 minutes)
Telling the story of the Uber article and introducing Persona Clare and the persona/scenario set up, handing out the persona cards and Scenario #1.
2. Three Scenario conversations (30 minutes)
Each group will have 5 minutes to discuss among themselves how their persona would respond to the scenario questions and what strategies they might use to help their student/persona to be successful/feel comfortable in class. (Timer set on screen)
Two persona groups will be chosen for sharing out (2-3 minutes each group)
Wrap up (5 minutes)
By the end of this session, participants will be able to:
Determine the value of getting to know their students at the start of the semester.
List activities that will help them to gather information about their students.
Use persona predictions to tweak their course to better meet individual student needs.