Teaching Tip: Why is this Course Included in the Curriculum?

“If the learning that students are asked to undertake seems to have no purpose or connection to their own interests and concerns, they’ll probably resist it” (Brookfield, 2015, p. 221).

Goal – To have students think about the course content and learning outcomes, and identify how the course contributes to their academic development and future career.

Description – I send an email to all students enrolled in my course (psychosocial nursing) two weeks before the semester begins. I ask them to post on the Learning Management System (LMS) Discussion Board their response to the following question: Why is a psychosocial nursing course included in the BSN curriculum? After students post their response, they can view others’ responses. Postings are limited to no more than 200 words and are to be submitted prior to the first class session.

Students are told that the posts will be projected for several minutes at the onset of the first class. The responses serve as catalysts to speak about the course content, learning outcomes, assignments, and their relevance to nursing practice.

I have included this assignment for five semesters and find that it sets the tone for encouraging students to Think About Content. This tip can be modified to a paper and pen in-class or homework assignment. Students can also revisit the posts at the end of the semester and make additional comments. It can be used in any face-to-face, hybrid or online course.


Brookfield, S. (2015). The skillful teacher. San Francisco: Jossey:Bass.

Submitted by:
Anne Tumbarello, Ed.D., RN, NPP
Director, Faculty Professional Center
Associate Professor, Division of Nursing
Molloy College