Last Day of Class

The last day of class is often used for last minute housekeeping or administrative tasks such as course evaluations or handing in final papers or projects. Some educators have argued, however, that the ending of a course is an important event in a student’s academic history and, therefore, should be an opportunity for further learning (e.g., making connections or achieving synthesis) or celebration. It can also provide an opportunity for students to reflects on what they have learned, how they have changed, and how they will apply the knowledge (both content and process) and skills they have gained. Furthermore, instructors can reflect on the experience and its implications for them as teachers. Some specific ideas for activities during the last class session include the following:

  1. Provide an overview or synthesis of the course; identify common themes and relate concepts to these themes.
  2. Provide a final review of course content, using a traditional format or a game show format (e.g., Family Feud, College Bowl, Jeopardy)
  3. Ask students to create a concept map relating the major concept of the course to each other.
  4. Talk about how students can fit the course into the rest of their academic experiences and how to follow up on learning about the topic (e.g., doing research, taking more courses, or doing an internship).
  5. Offer to answer all remaining questions students may have about the topic of the course.
  6. Ask students about the most surprising/interesting/unexpected/memorable things they learned in the course.
  7. Ask students about how they have changed as a resulting of what they have learned or how they have grown due to being in this course.
  8. Ask students to write brief letters to future students explaining what they’ll do and learn in this course and providing them with advice or tips for success.
  9. Ask student to prepare and give a 2-minute elevator speech summarizing the course.
  10. Describe what you – as an instructor – learned (knowledge and/or skills) by teaching this course.
  11. Ask students to describe what they feel gratitude for regarding this course (e.g., instructor, other students, authors, or guest speaks).
  12. Ask students to describe the most significant idea they learned in the course and explain how it affected them (e.g., how their perspective of the topic has been changed, challenged, reinforced, or deepened by this idea).
  13. Ask students how they intend to use or apply what they have learned in the course.
  14. Ask students how they experienced the process of learning in the class, including high points and challenges (e.g., what was easy and what was hard).
  15. Have students write down the five big ideas they learned in the course and discuss them in class (or in small groups) to come up with a final list.
  16. Ask for feedback: what went well and what went badly; what should be kept the same and what should be changed (and how).
  17. Thank the class for their engagement and hard work (or anything else that might be appropriate) and say “goodbye” or offer to stay in touch.

Sources

University of California/Berkeley Center for Teaching & Learning

Last Day of Class

Brigham Young University Teaching at BYU

Activities for the Last Day of Class

Trinity College Commons

Better Endings: What to Do in the Last Day of Class

Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

Power Endings and Reflection

University of Oregon Office of Teaching Support and Innovation

Powerful Endings and Reflection

Eggleston, T.J., & Smith, G.E. (2002). Parting Ways: Ending Your Course. Association for Psychological Science Observer.

Instruction Strategies and Learning Activities