Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

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Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

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  • The Art of Cold Calling

    (from Harvard University The Christensen Center for Teaching & Learning). The Art of Cold Calling. If you are looking to better engage students in the classroom, cold calling can be a great way to spark discussion and foster an inclusionary environment. Yes, this method can be used to set the tone for class expectations, but it isn’t about shaming the unprepared. Done right, cold calling can serve up meaningful dialogue while also allowing a variety of students a chance to contribute, whether it’s by offering a deserving nod to an oft-prepared student or highlighting another’s expertise and background. Unsure how to properly use cold calling in your classroom? Let’s explore the why, who, and how.

  • Strategies for Preventing Student Resistance

    (from Faculty Focus). Strategies for Preventing 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. There is little doubt that the potential for student resistance in response to attempting a new teaching strategy is a widespread fear of many instructors. Even the rumor that another instructor who tried innovative approaches may have experienced student resistance could be enough to deter instructors from ever trying these teaching methods themselves.

    While addressing student resistance in a classroom when it arises is no doubt a key concern for many instructors, preventing student resistance altogether would seem to be the ultimate goal. Here are several such teaching strategies, connected where possible to the research literatures.

  • Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Boards

    (from Carnegie Mellon University Eberly Center). Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Boards. Blogs, wikis, and discussion boards are web-based platforms through which students can create and share content as well as interact with each other and the instructor. There is quite a bit of overlap in the feature sets of these tools, however, how they tend to be authored, organized, and used offer distinguishing characteristics. This chart describes who is responsible for creating and sharing the content, the type of content, and the default approach to content organization (See "How do I know if it's a good fit?" for typical educational uses and examples.) 

  • Teaching with Blogs

    From Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching). Teaching with Blogs. Although people often think of social media as a space for non-academic interactions, blogs can be helpful tools for instructors interested in enhancing their students’ communication skills and increasing their students’ investment in learning.

    Blogs can be spaces for informal or formal writing by students, and the capacity of blogs to support multiple forms of media (images, videos, links, and so on) can help students bring creativity to their communication. When writing for blogs, students can experiment and interact digitally in a relaxed and low-risk environment. Blogs can be an excellent balance between the rigor and structure of a formal written assignment and the freedom to experiment with ideas and arguments. Learn more here

  • Could Your Assignments Use a Tune-Up?

    (from Faculty focus). Could Your Assignments Use a Tune-Up?  How do students think about assignments? A lot never get past the idea that they’re basically unpleasant things faculty make them do. What does interest a lot of students is finding out what the teacher wants in the assignment, not so much what the assignments asks but more seeking insight as to what the teacher “likes.” Discover that and there’s a better chance of a good grade, or so the thinking goes. Unfortunately, very few students look at an assignment and think, now there’s an interesting learning opportunity. And how do faculty think about assignments? With multiple courses and lots of other work besides, with each new assignment developed there’s a tendency to first consider the amount of grading that will come with it. Assignments are what students ride on their way to learning. Our responsibility is to provide good vehicle maintenance and recognition when it’s time for a trade-in. 

  • Creating Engaging Assignments

    (from Stanford University - Tomorrow's Professor's Postings). Creating Engaging Assignments. For many years, teachers have focused on the importance of engaging students deeply in their work since we know that effort and motivation are central to learning. Here are three case studies of course assignments that led to significant engagement by students: student choice, high-stakes assignments (e.g., presenting for an external audience), and using drama as a teaching tool. Similar assignments could be incorporated, with appropriate adaptations, in many other contexts.

  • Informal Early Feedback (IEF): A Valuable Opportunity for Just-in-Time Feedback

    Informal Early Feedback (IEF): A Valuable Opportunity for Just-in-Time Feedback.  Student evaluations of teaching are an important part of the feedback that instructors receive. This feedback can be especially helpful when it is collected midway in the semester. Our students can tell us if we explain clearly, are well-organized, grade fairly, and more. They may also be able to tell us if the activities we give them are well-aligned with the ways we evaluate their learning. Responding to students’ comments by discussing them in class, and making changes as appropriate, can lead to increased motivation, better learning, and possibly improved end-of-semester student ratings. Here is a description of the Informal Early Process (IEF) process and sample forms for you to adapt.  Also, CITL is offering a workshop on Sept. 22nd to help you design your own IEF forms. For more assistance, contact CITL

  • Increase Student Learning in Only 3 Seconds.

    (from Faculty Focus). Increase Student Learning in Only 3 Seconds. There is a lot of research on teacher’s use of waiting in the classroom and the positive effects it can have for student engagement and learning. The best news of all? Improving student learning only takes 3 seconds. In 1972, Mary Budd Rowe coined the phrase “wait time” to describe the period of time between a teacher’s question and a student’s response. Rowe found that teachers typically wait between .7 seconds and 1.5 seconds before speaking after they have asked a question. However, when teachers utilize wait times of 3 seconds or more, Rowe found that there were demonstrated increases in student creativity and learning. Read more here

  • Lighting the Path: Making Connections Between Classes and Careers

    (from Faculty Focus). Lighting the Path: Making Connections Between Classes and Careers. Students can have a hard time seeing how general education requirements and foundational classes help them achieve their goals. Students, especially adult learners, want to make measurable progress toward their degrees right out of the gate. Actually, want might be too weak a word. As they balance jobs, families, an income gap, and student debt that grows weekly, they need to make progress as a tangible achievement to keep them going. What I want to focus on are potential solutions, or at least actions we can take toward solutions. If we view a student’s educational journey as a continuity, as a process with incremental progress, how do we put the imprint of this journey on individual classes? We can do this in part by creating a context for the learning in our courses and through instilling a sense of direction by infusing reflection in the classroom. Sometimes it’s text, sometimes video or audio—there are dozens of ways to connect and dozens of potential locations for this interaction to take place: gradebook feedback, inbox, the discussion board. The key is to have meaningful conversations with our students, a dialogue, not a sermon from the mount but an interchange—a back and forth

  • Use Revise and Resubmit Instead of Extra Credit

    (from Faculty Focus) Use Revise and Resubmit Instead of Extra Credit. Many faculty provide extra credit or give in to student requests for extra credit, but this is not always an efficient way to produce learning. The major problem with extra credit is that it does not address a student’s actual deficiency. In most cases, the issue of extra credit occurs when there is some deficiency in a student’s performance that hurt their grade and they want to do something to improve it. But whatever they do to improve their grade is “extra,” meaning not the same as the problematic performance. For this reason, extra credit does not address the fundamental issue that motivated the extra credit. If a student gets a poor grade on an assignment in my class because they did not understand the human genome project, it is that understanding which needs to be addressed. It is not an objection to arbitrarily redefine “extra credit” to include a built-in revise and resubmit option for students. That is simply a misuse of the term.