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What makes a class successful? Fink (2013) has argued that factors that make a difference in teaching and learning success could be categorized into four major issues:

  • How well do you know your subject matter as an instructor?
  • How does the interaction between teacher and student work out?
  • Classroom management: what instructors do about getting grades back on time, handling incivility in the classroom, and so on.
  • Course design, or structuring the entire course experience into a coherent whole.

Fink argues, and we’re inclined to agree, that at the university level, if we assume faculty are already competent in their subject matter, the most critical of these is course design.


Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. John Wiley & Sons.