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High Impact Practices (HIPs)

HIPs: Eight Key Elements


  • Performance expectations set at appropriately high levels
  • Significant investment of time and effort by students over an extended period of time
  • Interactions with faculty and peers about substantive matters
  • Experiences with diversity, wherein students are exposed to and must contend with people and circumstances that differ from those with which students are familiar
  • Frequent, timely and constructive feedback
  • Periodic, structure opportunities to reflect and integrate learning
  • Opportunities to discover relevance of learning through real-world applications
  • Public demonstrations of competence


You may already be teaching a HIP. Try this test to see:

  1. Tell about your best assignment. Why do students like this assignment? Why do they perform better on it?
  2. Review the 8 elements. Which ones are missing from your assignment? How can you develop these missing elements?

The Power of Reflection

a HIPS essential

“As subject matter experts, we juggle learning outcomes specific to course content—those things we have to teach, those things that we know are important to our course content. And it can feel like there isn’t any time or space left over.”
How do you deal with this challenge?

What is Reflection and Metacognition?

  • Reflection is a way to teach, not new content
  • Metacognition is "the act of thinking about one's own thought process (more logic, why I made a choice, what is my process.)
  • Reflection "conscious exploration of one's own experiences" (more socioemotional, experiences, personal impact and meaning)

-(N. Silver "The Reflective Pedagogies and the Metacognitive Turn in College Teaching" 2013)

What are some ways your students are doing this already?

What Students Do

  • Students thing about what, how and why they learn
  • Reflections is "meaning making." Example: Learning artifacts (tests, papers, labs) + meaning of the artifacts (reflection)
  • Students think on past experience to inform future action
  • Students generate evidence of learning course content, and job/life skills

What could be a "meaning making" assignment in your class?


Students Reflect on

  • Course content
  • Skills that transcend the particular course content
    • Career skills
    • Learning skills and processes
  • New ideas: concept exploratinoand application
  • Social-emotional areas
    • Growth Mindset "Can I do this?
    • Purpose and relevance "Why should I do this?"
    • Sense of belonging "Do I belong here?"

What does this mean for students

  • Builds intrinsic motivation. Students may discover their why.
  • Deeper engagement. Stimulates interest
  • Improves comprehension. Students understand what they're learning and the application of that learning.
  • Career inspiring. Students imagine themselves working in their chosen profession.
  • Sense of belonging increases. Students feel they belong in the context, connect to peers, known cared for by teachers, fit in academically and socially, free from doubts and worries about belonging.

An example:  A reflective assignment was used after the first and second exam in 2011. Performance  increased significantly.


Metacognition: An Effective Tool to Promote Success in College Science Learning By Ningfeng Zhao, Jeffrey G. Wardeska, Saundra Y. McGuire, and Elzbieta Cook 2012 Journal of College Science Teaching


What it looks like in the classroom

Preview and Forecast. Students think ahead. they consider where they are going, and what they are doing, and why.

  • Discuss steps and due dates, look at the syllabus
  • Explain learning goasl of each activity
  • Have students discuss the journey they are on
  • List what will be covered in Today's Session, have students reflect on their goals for the day
  • Make predictions (what do they think will happen?)
  • Allow students to start a test with questions about the test/content

Practice, lots of practice (workshop feel)

  • Small teaching. Ungraded practice.
    • scaffold steps
    • do the assignment
    • revise
    • look again
    • apply what they've learned
    • tell what they've learned
  • Opportunities to revise or improve learning because of errors (active revision)
  • Peer instruction and review of work (Mazur)

Check Learning. Ask students specifically what they've learned in class -- what skills they might add to a resume.

  • Feedback on the reflections to the whole class. (ask permission)
  • Reading checks, quizzing, exit ticket
  • Ask about attitudes (Why might this be important to you? Are you worried about something?)

Modeling. Instructor reflects in front of students, at key times.

  • Survey your students to convey care and connection. Discuss results with class, appropriately.

Apply lessons learning the classroom to their chosen career field or other context

  • Students share advice they might give to a new student (after completing  big projects or exam)

Self-assessment. Student becomes aware of own learning and processes.

  • Opening/essential questions
  • Annotating on readiing
  • Accountability (student goals, plans, next steps)
  • Reflection on success strategies

Faculty Activities

Look up one of these articles, skim, and find one point that works for your classroom.


Identify one (small) assignment students have completed this week in your course. Reflect on it's strengths, areas for improvement, and what you'd like to try next time.



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