Lesson Design Using the ‘BOPPPS’ Model – Part 1: Bridge-In

Hello SJSU Community!

It’s Dr. Rayna Friendly again, here today to tell you about a model of lesson design that I learned and taught during my graduate/post graduate degree, which I use regularly to enhance my university teaching! In fact, this is the model taught to myself, and many others throughout more than 100 academic institutions worldwide during an intensive 3-day training event called the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) (Day, 2004). The formation and use of the ISW has been documented, yest more research needs to be done. To date, the ISW has been found to be an effective way to transform instructor’s teaching in the classroom such that ISW participants were found to reduce their teacher-focused thinking in comparison to controls, as well as increase the number of active learning strategies used in their classrooms (e.g., Dawson et al., 2014; Macpherson, 2011). I hope to run the ISW at SJSU some day soon, but meanwhile let me tell you more about the BOPPPS model of lesson design!

‘BOPPPS’ is actually an acronym, which stands for the 6 basic components that are important to consider including when you are designing a lesson or workshop:

  • Bridge into the lesson
  • Outcomes for the lesson (as in Intended Learning Outcomes)
  • Pre-assessment of learners’ existing knowledge of those outcomes
  • Participatory Activities (as in Active Learning Strategies)
  • Post-assessment of learners’ knowledge of the outcomes
  • Summary of the lesson content

Note that these components can be used across the lesson once, or even multiple times if your lesson is divided-up into a few modules. Throughout my blog posts, I plan to describe the components of this model in more detail. For today, let’s delve deeper into the first component: The Bridge!

The Bridge-In component of the BOPPPS model reminds the instructor to include a segway into the content they plan to cover. Rather than jump right in, this encourages us to remember what it is like to be a novice, learning the material for the first time. (I don’t know about you, but I always found it so frustrating when my professors would forget to connect their lecture content to previously-discussed content or to real life in some way. I remember thinking “Why is he/she telling us this? Why is it important or relevant?“). Thus, including a bridge can help learners understand how the upcoming lesson content connects to their lives and/or to previous course content, in meaningful ways!

Some Bridge Ideas:

    • Start off with a DEMO that relates the lesson content to a real-life example
      • (e.g., I use the idea of proving the theory “Santa Clause true/real” vs “Santa Clause is false” when bridging into the topic of falsification in the Scientific Method)
    • Start off by telling learners an ANECDOTE or STORY about a past experience that relate back to the lesson content
    • Start off by SUMMARIZING where you left off last class before going into today’s lesson content
    • Start off by asking learners QUESTIONS or asking them to REFLECT on their personal experiences that relate to the course content

Look out for my following blog posts to learn more about the rest of the components of the BOPPPS Model!


(Note that these BOPPPS posts might be interspersed with content updates from the Teaching Community of Practice (TCoP), which I facilitate.) What is the TCoP, you ask?

  • The Teaching Community of Practice (TCoP) is a group for part- and full-time SJSU faculty (of all levels, across all departments), who are interested in enhancing their respective teaching practices. The TCoP will meet regularly, according to members’ schedules, to exchange strategies, tips and resources that have led to successful (and sometimes, less-than-successful) teaching experiences. Please fill out this form if you are interested in joining this community and you will be added to the groups’ mailing list. For inquires about the TCoP, please contact me at rayna.friendly@sjsu.edu.




Day, R., & the ISW International Advisory Committee. (2004). Instructional Skills Workshop: From grassroots initiative to international perspectives. Paper presented at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Retrieved from http://iswnetwork.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Hand5_ICED.pdf

Dawson, D., Borin, P., Meadows, K., Britnell, J., Olsen, K. & McIntryre, G. (2014). The Impact of the Instructional Skills Workshop on Faculty Approaches to Teaching. Toronto ON: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

Macpherson, A. (2011). The Instructional Skills Workshop as a transformative learning process. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.

F19 Welcome back! Setting up your course & TCoP invitation


My name is Dr. Rayna Friendly and I am happy to have been invited as a Faculty-in-Residence blogger for eCampus this Fall 2019 term! Although my training and teaching is in the field of Developmental Psychology, I have also worked extensively on providing professional and teaching development opportunities for faculty and graduate students. Thus, my posts will mainly consist of tips and resources that I have found most helpful when developing my own teaching practice.

Today’s post will consist of: (1) a guide, which faculty (especially new faculty) can use to help set up and prepare their courses at the beginning of the term here at SJSU, and (2), an invitation to join the SJSU Teaching Community of Practice (TCoP) mailing list!

  1. My Guide for Preparing Courses for the Beginning of Term:

    The following are some of the  steps I follow when preparing my courses:

    First, I suggest visiting SJSU’s Center for Faculty Development (CFD)’s Seven Steps for Preparing Accessible/Inclusive Teaching to insure you are accommodating students to the best of your abilities. The link follows:
    1. Preparing my syllabus

      • I consult the SJSU Academic Calendar to check for campus closure/holiday dates and use this information when updating my schedule of topics for the term on my syllabus.
      • Then, I spend a lot of time considering and adjusting assessment (assignments, quizzes, tests, exams, etc.) descriptions and due dates…This planning takes me a long time but saves time during the semester since I’ve done a bunch of planning in advance)
      • I then check that the rest of my syllabus is updated (contact & office information, textbook & activity description, information about the Peer Educator I am working with in the new term, etc.)
      • Make sure university polices are updated on your syllabus, by checking (and using!) the wording carefully chosen by the CFD on their Accessible Syllabus Teaching Template: http://www.sjsu.edu/cfd/teaching-learning/accessibility
      • Here is an EXAMPLE of one of my syllabi from Spring 2019 (note: policies and such require updating, so please check wording using the CFD template above before re-using any of this on your own syllabi)
    2. Setting up My Canvas Course Shells

      • I first prefer to combine the 2 sections I teach of the same course into the same course shell (you do NOT need to do this, I just find it makes posting content for both sections easier, and you can still message each section individually if needed).
        • Here is an online guide: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10885-4214719646
        • I prefer my course shell to say “sections 1 & 2” (rather than just section 1), so I just emailed eCampus to ask them set up one of my course section’s with that name/detail added. Then I followed online instructions, like those above, to cross-list both sections to that course shell.
      • I aim to launch my Canvas courses with at least the following published:
        • A welcome message to my students (some instructors post a welcome video as well!)
        • The syllabus (I prefer to put my syllabus on a Google Document in Google Drive, and then embed the link on Canvas under “syllabus”. This way, when I make edits to the syllabus on Drive, they show up instantly on Canvas for students to view)
        • Information for students on how to set up their iClicker (which I use for my classes), as well as lists of any campus resources I feel could be useful to them (I create a module specifically labelled “Tips & Resources” for these. Many of these resources can be downloaded from Canvas Commons

    3. Then, I set up my courses on iClicker, since I use these in my classes.

    • I personally don’t use these for points – I just use it them participation, but many instructors use these for grades. Contact eCampus for help with setting this up!

    4. Last, I start creating/updating my slides for the term.

    • I aim to get at least 1-2 weeks ahead (more if it is my first term teaching or I am making large-scale changes to the course)


  2. Invitation to join SJSU’s Teaching Community of Practice (TCoP)

  • The Teaching Community of Practice (TCoP) is a group for part- and full-time SJSU faculty (of all levels, across all departments), who are interested in enhancing their respective teaching practices. The TCoP will meet regularly, according to members’ schedules, to exchange strategies, tips and resources that have led to successful (and sometimes, less-than-successful) teaching experiences. Please fill out this form if you are interested in joining this community and you will be added to the groups’ mailing list. For inquires about the TCoP, please contact me at rayna.friendly@sjsu.edu.


  • Why join the TCoP?

    • Attendance is flexible (in-person and online) and sessions are often recorded using Zoom, so you can watch them later if unable to attend!
    • There is a body of research that examines the efficacy of such Professional Teaching Communities (i.e. Communities of Practice) for both faculty and student outcomes (e.g., Vangrieken, Meredith, Packer, & Kyndt, 2017; Vescio, Ross & Adams, 2008), which suggest benefits for pedagogical advancements.


Vescio, V., Ross, D., & Adams, A. (2008). A review of research on the impact of professional learning communities on teaching practice and student learning. Teaching and teacher education24(1), 80-91.

Vangrieken, K., Meredith, C., Packer, T., & Kyndt, E. (2017). Teacher communities as a context for professional development: A systematic review. Teaching and teacher education61, 47-59.


Immersive Learning Research Network Conference 2019

The fifth annual Immersive Learning Research Network conference was held this month in London, England. This conference brings together an international group of developers, educators, and research professionals from a range of  disciplines who collaborate to develop the scientific, technical, and applied potential of immersive learning. In particular, conference participants share their research in an ongoing effort to continually examine the elements that create effective immersive learning experiences. 

I had heard about the conference from one of the organizers, Jonathan Richter, who had presented a keynote at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference in April. I had presented at that in-world conference. Jon had let me know that there was still room for poster presentations at iLRN19, so I had the honor to represent San Jose State University at an international community event.

Bethany at iLRN 2019

My poster synthesized research on the affordances of virtual worlds, and my experiences as both participant and in-world builder for the last year and a half. All of the conference events were great, but I was particularly inspired by Jim Purbrick’s presentation Lessons Learned in Virtual Worlds. As a former developer for Second Life, (and current engineering manager of Oculus VR in the UK), Jim articulated the increasing importance of understanding the social aspect of collaborating in open virtual worlds. Of course, I think the best way to do that is join the educators and librarians who have been holding events and conferences in virtual worlds like Second Life and OpenSim for the last 10 years. So if you have any such interest, do let me know!

If you’re interested in the research, the conference proceedings (linked here) contain 18 final papers selected from 60 submissions. These papers fall into seven different categories; STEM, disciplinary applications, special education, history, pedagogical strategies, immersion and presence. I’ve also linked here to a PDF version of my poster. (From the QR code on my poster you can access additional information and videos about virtual worlds I have posted on Canvas.)

I hope San Jose State will have an even bigger presence at the conference next year, when it will be held in June at Cal Poly San Louis Obispo! 

Generous Thinking: Farewell Semester – Hello Summer Reading!

On the heels of my last post about Open Digital Pedagogy & FERPA and in line with a previous post, Live-Tweeting as Public Engagement, I would like to conclude my semester of guest-blogging for eCampus with a turn towards a summer read:

Generous Thinking: A Radical Approach to Saving the University by Kathleen Fitzpatrick (@kfitz on Twitter).

Fitzpatrick’s previous book, Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology and the Future of the Academy, was built on her earlier blog of the same name, a blog that established not only a public representation of her work, but also a community of early academic bloggers who were struggling with the same ideas. With Generous Thinking, Fitzpatrick implores academia to expand outwards, to work in public, to work with the Public. And, for us, that means modeling this for our students in addition to bringing them along for the ride through our research, teaching them through active learning engagement, and articulating the value of education as more than a vocation.

Fitzpatrick queries:

“So it’s important for us to ask ourselves: Do we understand the people who are not on campus to be an audience–a passive group that merely takes in information that the university provides? Do we understand them to be a public, a self-activated and actualized group capable not only of participating in multidirectional exchanges both with the university and among its members, but also of acting on its own behalf? Or even more, do we consider them to be a complex collection of communities–not just groups who interact with one another and with us, but groups of which we are in fact a part? How can we shape this understanding in a way that might begin to create a richer, more interactive, more generous sense not just of ‘them’ but of the larger ‘us’ that we together form?” (8)

As we embark upon graduation season and watch many of our students ascend the stage, shake hands with various truly proud and enthusiastic representatives of SJSU, look out into the wide crowd of cheers, accept that marker of their success, and proceed out into the world —  have we given them the intellectual understandings to do the very thing that Fitzpatrick is asking of us in academia?

Those of you who have been participating in the eCampus professional development seminars, sessions, and lunch n’learn over the past year are taking up this challenge to teach through active learning strategies in such a way that students become life-long learners and the leaders within this larger community of “us” that Fitzpatrick implores us to embrace.

All of this community building is situated within values — what do we value in a master’s granting public university? What do you value?

I’ve learned a lot about my colleagues and shared values over my career here at SJSU, but what I didn’t realize is that we don’t all need to share the same values. We do, however, need to work towards respecting each other’s values. That point came clearly from Dr. Beronda Montgomery (“Mapping a Mentoring Roadmap and Developing a Supportive Network Strategic Career Advancement”), who I met at the HumetricsHSS workshop back in October 2017. Dr. Montgomery’s plant metaphors (see “From Deficits to Possibilities: Mentoring Lessons from Plants on Cultivating Individual Growth through Environmental Assessment and Optimization“) articulated the way in which I’ve been governing my career. At that workshop, groups were tasked with creating a set of values for “measuring” Humanities work. My group took Dr. Montgomery’s mentoring analogies to heart and created a plant that grows with the sun:

We struggled to articulate this messy non-linear visualization of values, but in the end, determined that they were all intertwined and propelled by “public good” — the very value that is the foundation of our state-funded, public university.

With all of the recent outcries about education failing our next generations, I counter with the recognition that on Monday mornings, people are busy searching the Internet to discuss plot development, character assassination, CGI dragons, Medieval tortures, monarchies, wartime strategies, and an 8-year long epic drama. Or, the excitement over the most recent solar eclipse witnessed with special glasses here in San Jose. Or the ethical dilemma with uses of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Or, the study of California’s devastating wild fires. All of this is discussed and studied here, on our campus. We are creating these conversations among faculty, among students, among the Public by the very virtue of being a public university graduating under-served communities, first-generation college students, among several other valuable and valued communities.

I’m a little far afield from digital pedagogy today in this final post. But, our pedagogical strategies rely upon our values and our passion in continuing to teach at this public institution. Digital pedagogy, flipped classrooms, active learning, high impact practices all allow for an inquisitive fascination with the evolution of the world.

“By finding ways to connect with readers and writers beyond our usual circles of experts, in a range of different registers, and in ways that move beyond enabling them to listen to us to instead allow for meaningful dialogue and collaboration, we can create the possibilities for far more substantial public participations in and engagement with a wide range of kinds of academic work” (135).

As we work publicly through all of these pedagogical practices, we model for our students how to engender this “larger ‘us’ that we together form.” Join me in congratulating them this week for their successful navigation of higher education and their continuing journey as that “larger ‘us.'”

Open Digital Pedagogy & FERPA

In these posts this semester, I’ve covered some big, sweeping topics — and continued that conversation in the Digital Pedagogy Workshop last month. As the semester begins to wrap up, there’s one or two final elements to using Digital Pedagogy that we haven’t covered. As we ask students to engage with High Impact Practices, participate in our RSCA activities, represent the public face of SJSU, we also need to consider the boundaries of openness.

What follows are a series of responses that the 3 authors of the introduction to Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities have discussed or experienced in our long journey towards completing this project.

[from DRAFT “Introduction” of Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities, authored by Rebecca Frost Davis, Matthew K. Gold, and Katherine D. Harris. Reference to draft version of May 1, 2019 — due for final digital, open access completion in 2019 on a searchable & user-friendly digital platform]

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