When developing Content Activities, you do not have to create all of the material yourself. You can assign readings from a textbook, e-book, journal article, website, online newspaper, magazine, wiki, blog etc. When using assigned readings, it is recommended that you provide a short introduction to orientate your students to the material. You can also provide your expert interpretation and thoughts to supplement the assigned reading material, but be careful not to merely repeat what students can find in these resources. You may also want to provide students with some guiding questions to assist with assigned readings. The following are some examples of guiding questions that you can adapt:

assigned readings chartBefore your read the article, please take a moment to think about the following questions:

  • What do I need to do before reading the article to increase my understanding?
  • What am I supposed to learn from in this article?
  • What's the best strategy for reading this article?
  • What do I already know about the topic?

As you are reading the article, please consider the following questions:

  • What do I need to do while I am reading this article to increase my understanding?
  • What don't I understand?
  • What's confusing me?
  • What information is important to remember?

When you finish reading the article, please reflect on the following questions:

  • What do I need to do after I complete the article? What questions do I need to ask myself about the article?
  • What were the most important ideas in this article?
  • How can I remember what I’ve learned?
  • What do I want to learn more about now?

You can also consider incorporating a Select a Sentence activity, where you ask each student or groups of students to identify one sentence from the assigned reading that they believe contains a significant idea for the class topic. You can then take each of the sentences, pulls together themes, and help students think through the main ideas of the class. In addition, you could use an Anticipation Guide strategy that asks students to respond to a series of questions and to make predictions prior to reading assigned text in order to activate prior knowledge and increase curiosity. This activity encourages and motivates students to read closely and critically think about what they are reading.

The Durham College Library has a large collection of e-books which you can browse or search for material. You can also use sites such as Google Scholar; Microsoft Academic Search; and Mendeley to locate readings or you can setup a Google Alert to alert you of new readings that might be of interest