Use the Last Day of Class Well

Wrapping up the semester

What can you do to close out the semester productively for both you and your students? Eggleston and Smith (2002) remind us that planning the last day(s) of our course is as important as planning the first day. Designing activities that encourage reflection and a sense of achievement promotes both academic and emotional closure.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Have students engage in a reflective activity in which they articulate their particular takeaways from your course.
  • Ask students to make connections such as:
    • between topics of your course
    • between your course and others they are taking
    • between your course and real-world experiences
    • between your course and a future career
  • Have students write a letter of advice to your future students (and ask if you may share them), offering insights and tips for success.
  • Collective sharing: ask students to write 1-2 sentences about what they will most remember from the course; go around the room and share (or have students share on a discussion board), and then collectively look for key overlaps and divergences. 
  • Share what you will remember about this class, and what you’ve learned from your students (Weimer, 2016).

Students do not remember the details of what they learned in a course — they remember moments of deep learning and those aha moments in which new ideas resonate with old ones and discoveries are made. They also remember how they felt about themselves as learners and thinkers, and thus spending time reflecting on their growth as learners and thinkers can prompt continued growth in the semesters and years to come.

Have an idea to share? Please let us know.

Resources and References

Eggleston, T. J., & Smith, G. E. (2002, March 4). Parting Ways: Ending Your Course. Observer, Association for Psychological Science.

Weimer, Maryellen. (2016, April 13).The Last Class Session: How to Make It Count. Faculty Focus.


05.01.23 CK

For more information or help, please email the Office for Faculty Excellence or make an appointment with a consultant.

Creative Commons License
Teaching Resources by Montclair State University Office for Faculty Excellence is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Third-party content is not covered under the Creative Commons license and may be subject to additional intellectual property notices, information, or restrictions. You are solely responsible for obtaining permission to use third party content or determining whether your use is fair use and for responding to any claims that may arise.

Creative Commons CC BY-NC-4.0