Many faculty members use quizzes to keep students prepared and present in class. The approach often tends to be punitive, however, motivating students by extrinsic means. Karen Braun and Drew Sellers, who teach beginning accounting courses, wanted to use quizzes in the usual ways—to get students coming to class having done the reading, to arrive in class on time, and to participate in class discussion, but they wanted their quizzes to be more about intrinsic motivation and less about assessment. How did they achieve that objective? They incorporated a number of “motivational” design features into their use of quizzes.
Teaching to students’ strengths and interests can promote creative and critical thinking. But requesting creative responses often engenders the exact opposite of creativity. “Just tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it.” “How many words does it need to be?” “What should I write about to get a good grade?” “I’m not creative.” Often these comments are accompanied with sighs, groans, or no responses at all (in the case of online students), indicating just how much students resist when asked to be creative. And these responses are even more prevalent in required and prerequisite courses. So how do we overcome the resistance and encourage creative ideas and thinking from our students?
As of this writing we are five weeks into the semester, and I can echo Eyler's sentiment that this assignment has produced levels of connection and engagement among my students that I have never experienced before. We begin every class period by taking a quick look at the tweets that have been posted since the last meeting. That means every class begins with a brief discussion of connections they are seeing and forging.
Learner Experiences with MOOCs and Open Online Learning is an e-book in which student authors describe and reflect upon their open online learning experiences. Current conversations around educational innovations in general, and MOOCs in particular, lack student voices. This book enables learners to share their stories, thus contributing to our understanding of open online learning.
Educators and academic professionals at colleges and universities nationwide are integrating contemplative practices into a variety of programs and courses, in disciplines from literature to physics to architecture. At this weekend workshop, Mirabai Bush (Founding Director, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society), Rhonda V. Magee (Professor of Law, University of San Francisco), and Harold D. Roth (Professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies and Director of the Contemplative Studies Initiative, Brown University) will introduce contemplative practices, review the related neuroscience research on meditation and learning, give examples of successful courses, and engage participants in thinking about the role of contemplation in their own work.
This 3-day workshop promises to be amazing, and not just because our co-director, Rhonda Magee, is one of the presenters. Sign up today!
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