Learner-centered teaching (LCT) has been found to be a more effective pedagogy for online students, as traditional teaching methods do not work well in online courses. Professors in an upper-level technology management class revised their online introductory course to incorporate cafeteria-style grading. This LCT approach allowed students to select assignments they wanted to complete. More assignments were offered than needed to achieve an A grade. They included traditional projects such as research papers as well as more engaged activities such as demonstrating or mastering skills. To determine whether these changes promoted active learning, course data were obtained and analyzed. Students completed a range of assignments, showed mastery on a number of skills, and were overwhelmingly positive about having flexible options. Tellingly, 36% of students completed more assignments than were needed to earn the top grade.
Keywords: Cafeteria-style grading, higher education, learner-centered teaching, online education, technology management