25 Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT)

Teaching Strategies: Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT)


Just-in-Time Teaching or JiTT (Novak, Patterson, Gowin, & Christian, 1999) is a pedagogical approach that combines the best features of traditional in-class instruction with the modern communication channels of 21st-century technology. Just-in-Time Teaching (Novak, 1999) is the strategy of asking students questions about a pre-class activity, often a reading assignment or a pre-recorded lecture, before they come to class. Students complete the reading or viewing assignment, answer the questions (often using a blog or an open-ended audience response question), and the instructor or a GA scans the responses for themes. The students’ responses can then help guide the instructor’s activities in-class, allowing those precious face-to-face moments to be more targeted towards the learners’ demonstrated understandings and misunderstandings.  JiTT is a web-based pedagogy, but it definitely is not distance learning or computer-aided instruction. All JiTT instruction occurs in a classroom with human teachers. The Web materials added as a pedagogical resource, act as a communication and organizing tool (Novak, 2011). What if you could receive individual student responses from all students regarding their understanding of key concepts and theories being discussed in your lessons?  Would that impact the way you continued to teach those students and curriculum? Below you will find manageable information on how to facilitate this approach, along with variations on this strategy from experienced educators. 

Quick Start Guide – JiTT 101

Employing this strategy in your Face-to-Face class can be facilitated with a few simple upfront steps that might end up yielding very powerful instructor to student, and student to student interactions. Here is how you can get started:

  1. Consider the lesson content and type of lesson you are delivering.  Is it an introduction to a new concept, or a continuation of previously covered coursework? Identify the parts of the lesson and the intended outcomes.  Do students need to be reminded of key concepts to be successful with the pre-class activities?
  2. Design a set of probing questions to identify student understanding or misunderstanding of the assignment concepts. Typically, the questions are broad enough in scope to allow for individual idiosyncratic responses that will serve to enrich the overarching classroom discussions. Experienced educators may be able to anticipate common student responses, outline the direction of the lesson, and adjust for surprises
  3. Once student responses have been collected, instructors can briefly examine the results and identify common themes or misunderstandings.  With this knowledge, lesson revisions can be made to address key areas identified for remediation, and the instructor can now conduct classroom lessons with a direct reference and phrasing from student responses.

Note: Descriptive note. Adapted from “Just-in-Time Teaching,” by G.M. Novak, 2011, New Directions for Teaching & Learning, 128, 63-73


This section outlines how you might begin to think about adopting this teaching strategy and the tools you might consider employing.

  • Poll Everywhere– Poll Everywhere is a web-based audience response system. Faculty can use this tool to create polls to give within a class or online and get immediate results that are displayed within easy-to-read formats. This tool fully integrates into Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, and more, making it easier to use with the ways in which you already facilitate presentations. Learners can respond via mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, any internet-enabled device, or even by text messaging.
  • D2L Surveys – Instructors can develop questionnaires and surveys directly in Desire2Learn.  Using D2L functions, an instructor can set survey release conditions, notifying students through the course calendar, in order to elicit student responses in a timeframe suitably aligned with a JiTT approach.
  • Qualtrics – Like the D2L Survey Tool, Qualtrics allows instructors or students to develop high-quality questionnaires and surveys that can be delivered anonymously or by using star-id and password authentication.




Novak, G. M. (2011). Just-in-time teaching. New Directions For Teaching & Learning, 2011(128), 63-73. 

Novak, G. M., Patterson, E.T., Gavrin, A.D., and Christian, W. (1999) Just-In-Time-Teaching: Blending Active Learning with Web Technology, Prentice Hall



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