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Teaching strategies for the college classroom
Articles and resources to help college faculty improve their teaching and stay current on the latest pedagogical challenges and trends for the face-to-face, online, blended, and flipped classroom.
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How to Help Students Improve Their Note-Taking Skills

How to Help Students Improve Their Note-Taking Skills | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

Students love it when teachers provide class notes—the more complete the set, the better. Students want the teacher’s notes online because it’s convenient, they’re readable, well organized, and relieve the student of having to expend much effort during class. A lot of students need the teacher’s notes because they aren’t very good note-takers themselves. They practice stenography rather than note-taking, trying to get down the teacher’s words exactly. That way, even if they don’t understand, they can memorize what the teacher said and find it on the test. But that’s not learning.

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Live-Tweeting Assignments: To Use or Not to Use? – ProfHacker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Live-Tweeting Assignments: To Use or Not to Use? – ProfHacker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

This post explores some of the benefits and drawbacks to one of my most successful teaching exercises using Twitter—getting students to “live tweet” films. “Live tweeting” basically means tweeting as students are watching the film, either by reporting on or commenting on what they are viewing. I’ve tried this with documentaries, films of famous speakers giving lectures, and feature films. Every single time this activity has massively increased student engagement and learning. You can see a sample assignment I’ve used here and and student reactions to the activity here. The assignment does not require that students follow one another to read their tweets. They simply need to use public accounts and write each tweet so that it contains the event hashtag. 

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Three evolving thoughts about flipped learning - Casting Out Nines - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Three evolving thoughts about flipped learning - Casting Out Nines - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

I attended a talk by Jeremy Strayer last year, and he said something that stuck with me: that the purpose of pre-class work in the flipped classroom is to “launch” the in-class activity. In flipped learning we certainly want students to pick up fluency with basic content and learning objectives prior to class. But I think Jeremy’s point is that content delivery shouldn’t be the primary purpose of pre-class work. Rather, it should be to prime the student intellectually to engage in whatever high-level tasks we have devised for the in-class meeting.

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Putting specs grading to work - Casting Out Nines - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Putting specs grading to work - Casting Out Nines - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

There are also rules for earning plus/minus grades because, frankly, my Dean forced me to include them. I asked whether I could opt out of giving plus/minus grades and was told that if the university has plus/minus grades on the books, I have to provide a means for earning them. I would have liked not giving plus/minus grades, but whatever. You can read the whole syllabus here.

 

Under this grading scheme, for a student to attain what I consider to be a minimal baseline competency in the subject, he/she has to pass a little over 70% of the CC objectives, 60% of the CORE-M timed problems, the Getting Started and Tech Competency modules along with 67% of the other modules, and prepare successfully for class 75% of the time. And notice that only the students who are aiming for an A or B grade have to do the Application Project; so only the most highly motivated students are going to be working on it. (Conversely, the highest grade you can get in the class without the project is a C+.)

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What do first year students want in a college instructor?

What do first year students want in a college instructor? | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

What attributes are first year college students looking for in their instructors? To find out, we asked over 350 first year University of Minnesota students participating in a ULibraries’ Fall Orientation day. We asked students “What is the most important attribute of an effective college professor?” Students wrote their answers down on large pieces of paper. On reviewing the data gathered via our informal poll, the emerging theme is that students are more concerned with an instructor’s affective qualities than with teaching skill and subject matter expertise. 

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Waiting for Us to Notice Them

Waiting for Us to Notice Them | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it
This is how we can begin to practice a "pedagogy of presence" in our classrooms.
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Essay on the 10 commandments of a professor for his students @insidehighered

Essay on the 10 commandments of a professor for his students @insidehighered | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

1. Thou shalt have no other object of attention in the classroom. No devices — phones, gadgets, computers, guns — or distractions; I am a jealous and wrathful instructor.

2. Thou shalt honor thy fellow students. They are also struggling, growing, with opinions always changing, and with perspectives always in transition. Be kind and patient with them, and yourself. In discussion, be sensitive to the feelings of others, slow to be offended and quick to not offend, though do not censor yourself. Try to use “I” statements, speaking from your own experience, and speak your mind knowing that all controversial arguments can be made with tact, humility, and sensitivity to others.

3. Thou shalt assume the best intentions of the instructor and fellow students. Take what is said in the classroom with interpretative charity — assuming all speak in earnest and in good faith — though treat what is said with a critical eye. We are all in this together and we all want to “do the right thing” by each other.

 

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Principles of Effective College Teaching

Principles of Effective College Teaching | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

This self-paced, online course will give new faculty members and teaching assistants the information and confidence they need to be an effective college instructor. You will learn how to effectively design a course, create exams, manage content, increase student engagement, deal with common classroom challenges, evaluate learning, and more. Your instructor for the course is James Lang, director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College.

 

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Six Tips for Preparing Your Online Course

Six Tips for Preparing Your Online Course | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

Careful preparation is essential to the success of an online course “to provide a positive experience for the students and to be able to maximize your time with students so that you’re not spending time on reworking things that weren’t clear up front,” says Ann Millacci, associate professor of education at the University of Cincinnati. In an interview with Online Classroom, she offered the following advice on preparing your course for your learners:

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Effective Ways to Structure Discussion

Effective Ways to Structure Discussion | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

The use of online discussion in both blended and fully online courses has made clear that those exchanges are more productive if they are structured, if there’s a protocol that guides the interaction. This kind of structure is more important in the online environment because those discussions are usually asynchronous and minus all the nonverbal cues that facilitate face-to-face exchanges. But I’m wondering if more structure might benefit our in-class discussions as well.

Students struggle with academic discourse. They have conversations (or is it chats?) with each other, but not discussions like those we aspire to have in our courses. And although students understand there’s a difference between the two, they don’t always know exactly how they’re supposed to talk about academic content when discussing it with teachers and classmates. Would providing more structure provide that clarity and make the value of discussions more obvious to students?

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The Power of Storytelling in the College Classroom

The Power of Storytelling in the College Classroom | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

I love stories; stories about life, our personal experiences, the happy and the sad. Stories teach us about how the world sometimes works and how we relate to it. When I was young, I used to love to hear my parents talk about their experiences when they were young. Their stories gave me the opportunity to learn not only about their lives, but also gave me a better understanding of my culture, the traditions of my family, and its history. In a sense, these stories gave me a better understanding of myself. Stories put into context information that would otherwise remain fragmented, pieces of this and that, thrown into a catchall closet in which items are tossed and usually hopelessly lost.

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What Makes an Online Instructional Video Compelling? EDUCAUSE Review

What Makes an Online Instructional Video Compelling? EDUCAUSE Review | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

A major affordance of video is the ability to produce multimedia elements and create dynamic learning artifacts. This may be self-evident, yet often instructional videos are produced without much design devoted to sound or imagery.

 

Students repeatedly described the audio/visual elements of video as useful aspects of online course videos. Throughout the interviews, all participants evaluated charts, graphs, photographs, and other visuals relevant to the content area in positive terms. Conversely, a couple of students voiced their dissatisfaction with videos that they did not perceive as a value-add over text (they said videos they viewed did not include useful audio/visuals and that they could have just as easily read a transcript for the same information).

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Eight pedagogical journal articles that deserve a place on your reading list

Eight pedagogical journal articles that deserve a place on your reading list | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

It’s that time of the year when everybody is doing their “Best of 2014” lists, and I have one of my own that I’ve been wanting to do for some time now.

It will not come as a surprise to anyone that in order to prepare The Teaching Professor newsletter each month and this blog every week, I read a lot of pedagogical literature. But perhaps you would be surprised to know there are close to 100 pedagogical periodicals, at least that’s how many I am aware of at this point. When writing my book, Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning, I did my best to find them all and when the book was finished I was quite confident I had. However, the book was out less than a week before I was getting notes about journals I had missed and I’m still discovering new ones. Most of these journals are discipline-based, but there’s a significant number of cross-disciplinary publications as well.

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Managing Cognitive Load is a Delicate Act of Balance

Managing Cognitive Load is a Delicate Act of Balance | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it
Managing the cognitive load of an eLearning course is a delicate act of balance. You need to optimize the use of working memory capacity and avoid cognitive overload.
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First Exam of the Semester: A Wake-up Call for Students

First Exam of the Semester: A Wake-up Call for Students | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

This weekend I discovered a “memo to students who are disappointed with their last test grade.” What a great idea! I wasn’t surprised when I found out it was more of Rich Felder’s good work.

Students are terribly optimistic about their grades, especially at the beginning of a course. Then comes the first exam, many of us giving it early on in an attempt to dislodge these convictions that success will come easily and with little or no effort. If we return the exams during class, disappointment hangs heavy in the air. In those moments of despair there’s an opportunity to confront students with what they might have done (or not done) that caused (or is at least related to) that disappointing score.

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Strategies for Preventing Student Resistance

Strategies for Preventing Student Resistance | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

“What if the students revolt?” “What if I ask them to talk to a neighbor, and they simply refuse?” “What if they do not see active learning as teaching?” “What if they just want me to lecture?” “What if my teaching evaluation scores plummet?” “Even if I am excited about innovative teaching and learning, what if I encounter student resistance?”

When teachers try something different in the classroom and students resist, the teacher may back down. Often, this is due to fear of what will happen to their student evaluations and contract renewals. I have been told by many instructors that they once tried active learning but the students hated it, so they went back to what was tried and true. (Silverthorn, 2006, p. 139)

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It's Not Too Early to Begin Preparing Students for Cumulative Finals

It's Not Too Early to Begin Preparing Students for Cumulative Finals | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

There are a couple of reasons why students don’t like comprehensive finals. First, they’re more work. Rather than four weeks’ worth of material to know and understand, there’s a semester or term’s worth of content to deal with. However, the research highlighted in an article in this issue of the newsletter and more like it strongly supports that continued interaction with the content increases the chances that it will be remembered and can be used subsequently. Students also don’t like comprehensive exams because most of them don’t use good cross-course study strategies. They wait until finals week and then they start reviewing.

 

Here are some ways teachers can help students develop and use study strategies that make preparing for and doing well on comprehensive finals easier.

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Why Students Don’t Attend Office Hours

Why Students Don’t Attend Office Hours | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

More than 600 students answered 17 survey items about one of their courses in order to help researchers explore factors that influence students’ use of office hours. The research goal was to identify ways instructors could increase the use of office hours because so many students don’t take advantage of this opportunity to interact with faculty. Sixty-six percent of these students reported that they had not attended office hours for the course in question. The remaining third had been to the instructor’s office once. Only 8% reported attending office hours more than once a month. These percentages are consistent with previous findings.

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Keeping Students on Board with Concept Maps | Faculty Focus

Keeping Students on Board with Concept Maps | Faculty Focus | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

The benefits of concept maps are well established. They encourage students to organize knowledge and do so in ways meaningful to them. They help students sort out, prioritize, and understand relationships between terms, concepts, and ideas. Students can also use concept maps to forge relationships between new knowledge and what they already know.

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Rating your professor: five myths about university teaching quality

Rating your professor: five myths about university teaching quality | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

Prospective students, parents of prospective students, and taxpayers deserve to know about the quality of teaching in our universities. But how do you measure teaching quality?


Via Ahmed Afzaal
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Tony Bates: Understanding the Building Blocks of Online Learning

Tony Bates: Understanding the Building Blocks of Online Learning | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it
For almost 50 years, Tony Bates has been a consistent, persistent and influential voice for the reform of teaching and learning in post-secondary education, notably through the effective use of emerging technologies. Author of 11 books and 350 research papers in the field of online learning and distance education, Tony Bates is also an advisor to over 40 organizations in 25 countries, and publisher of what is arguably the most influential blog on online learning with over 20,000 visits a month.  A Contact North | Contact Nord Research Associate, Dr. Bates has helped educators, academic administrators and policy makers grasp key concepts, trends and challenges in online learning. This posting is one of a series that looks at Tony’s perspectives and advice on key issues in online learning.  

Via Dennis T OConnor
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Dennis T OConnor's curator insight, January 6, 5:41 PM

First installment of a multi-part series from Tony Bates.  

Rich Schultz's curator insight, January 14, 9:16 PM

Build that online class!

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What Does Your Syllabus Say About You and Your Course?

How would you characterize the tone of your syllabus? Is it friendly and inviting or full of strongly worded directives? Is the focus on what students will be learning or on all those various things that they should and shouldn’t be doing? Why do we feel so strongly that we have to lay down the law in the syllabus? Do we need a policy to cover every possible contingency? Do multiple prohibitions, rules and pointed reminders develop student commitment to the course?

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Using Fundamental Concepts and Essential Questions to Promote Critical Thinking

Using Fundamental Concepts and Essential Questions to Promote Critical Thinking | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

Could your students identify the most important concepts in your discipline? Do they leave your class understanding these most fundamental concepts, including the ability to reason using these concepts to answer essential questions? Do your students become critical thinkers who connect concepts and practices in your course with other courses? With their future professional lives?

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Helping Student Teams Perform Well | Center for Teaching & Learning | UMinnesota

Helping Student Teams Perform Well | Center for Teaching & Learning | UMinnesota | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

Our discussions with undergraduates and reading of the teamwork literature informed us that we shouldn’t assume all students possess the necessary skills needed for effective work in teams.  This is especially true for first year students and other students new to (and therefore unfamiliar with) the range of communication skills, including setting out and resolving conflicts, central to teamwork.

 

To support this aspect of student learning, address the following two points as part of teamwork preparation:

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Three Types of Assignments that Speed Feedback, Boost Student Engagement

Three Types of Assignments that Speed Feedback, Boost Student Engagement | Teaching strategies for the college classroom | Scoop.it

We often wonder what we can do to help students engage with the material so they can learn it at a deeper level. Students don’t make that an easy task. They arrive in class having not read the material or having not thought about it in meaningful ways, and that keeps them from being engaged in class.

 

Several years ago, I read George Kuh’s article “What Student Engagement Data Tell Us about College Readiness,” in which he writes, “Students who talk about substantive matters with faculty and peers are challenged to perform at high levels, and receive frequent feedback on their performance typically get better grades, are more satisfied with college, and are more likely to persist” (Peer Review, January 1, 2007, p. 4; italics mine). Here are three ways I try to provide feedback that engages students and not overwhelm myself with grading tasks in the process.

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