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  • Writer's pictureKelly Cowan

Just-in-Time Toolkit

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

Just-in-Time Teaching is:

- A validated technique to improve learning

- A validated technique to prevent instructor burnout

- Easy to implement

- Often not implemented well

Just-in-Time Teaching is best practiced as an all-or-nothing technique. We instructors often dip our toes in the waters of new pedagogies - for good reason! We are hit with new pedagogies every 10.5 months or so. Who has time to take drastic action each new semester?

But some pedagogies require that kind of courage. And the rewards justify that courage! Let's recap the steps of using the JiTT method:

1. Tell students how it works

2. Provide Learning Objectives

3. Offer before-class learning

4. Give points for before-class digital quizzing

5. Tell them which LOs you're going to teach

6. Teach only those LOs

7. Assess all of them

8. Circle back


List of learning objectives for each unit

Learning management system (Blackboard, etc..)

Materials for out-of-class learning (videos, HS talks, Ted Talks, Khan Academy, online publisher materials, textbooks)

Way to conduct online quizzing - preferably self-grading and preferably adaptive

Your own "toolkit" of active learning methods to deploy with all your extra time in class (see below).



1. Explain clearly how this is going to work.

2. Emphasize that all assigned learning objectives (LOs) are required and that you will NOT be teaching all of them.

3. Ideally show some results/research about improved grades (learning). (See below.)


1. Provide list of LOs for unit/day/chapter (on LMS, usually).

2. Provide useful before-class opportunities for them to learn - videos, textbook

3. Provide formative assessment - online: LMS, adaptive. For credit!

4. You: take 5-10 minutes to look at composite results of formative assessment

i. Highlight the LO's that you are going to teach; screen capture it and throw it in your presentation or on your LMS

ii. Drop non-necessary topics from your plans.


1. DO: Spend abundant time on the highlighted LO's, and be sure to include active learning with your extra time!

2. DO NOT: Slip into the temptation to teach non-highlighted topics.

This is it! The first major pitfall: if you break this rule you train your students that you will take up the slack if they do not put in the effort...............


1. Assess all LO's you assigned, even if you didn't teach them explicitly.

Second major pitfall! Don't be reluctant to assess non-highlighted LOs. This reinforces their responsibility to learn them on their own.

2. Review questions in some manner (in class, in lab, on LMS) indicating which LOs informed each question. This makes explicit that the untaught LOs were there.



PNAS ARTICLE: Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. 2014.


- Group learning:

- Peer Instruction: Turn to Your Neighbor: The Official Peer Instruction Blog

- Short summary of what is considered active learning and many examples. Old but good:

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