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Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

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  • Using Breakout Rooms with Less Stress and Better Results.

    (from Faculty Focus). Using Breakout Rooms with Less Stress and Better Results. “What are we supposed to be doing?” (said every student at least once in a breakout room). Small groupwork enables students to “compare their current understandings with those of other team members. . .construct new understandings” (Brame, 2020), builds a learning community, facilitates reflection (Brame, 2020), and mirrors the workplace (Scott, 2011). When our instruction moved online this spring, many instructors found using videoconference breakouts much less effective and efficient than in F2F (Face to Face) classes because: a) students became confused; b) the instructor could not monitor progress quickly for all groups at once; and c) group report-backs were slowed.  Here are ways to structure the group activites in the breakout rooms.

  • Zoom Video Conferencing

    (from CITL)  Zoom Video Conferencing. Zoom is the preferred tool on our campus for live, online course sessions. Sessions using Zoom allow you to deliver online lecture materials in a variety of ways, including using a webcam for live lectures, using screen sharing to display a PowerPoint, and using break-out rooms to foster student collaboration.  Here are a few of the tools available in Zoom to help keep your students engaged.

  • Moving Classes Online Is Hard. Online Discussion Can Help

    (from Inside Higher Ed) Moving Classes Online Is Hard. Online Discussion Can Help. Teaching online requires an intentional, thoughtful approach to instructional design, especially at a time when students are being asked to transition at an unprecedented pace in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Amid the turmoil, it’s troubling -- if not surprising -- that challenges with the move to online learning will have the greatest impact on the students who are most at risk: research suggests that struggling students often have the most trouble succeeding in online programs. A growing body of evidence indicates that the biggest barrier to achieving equivalent success rates in online learning has been tackling the challenge of cultivating the sort of collaboration, engagement and discussion that are often the hallmark of great teaching and learning environments. Thoughtful instructional design and intentional use of technology can help make the most of online discussion to help improve student outcomes. Here are a few tips to navigate to for online programs. 

  • Using Social Media to Retain Contact with Students in the Shift to Online Education.

    (from Faculty Focus). Using Social Media to Retain Contact with Students in the Shift to Online Education. COVID-19 has upended normal social connections that develop between students and professors. We are missing the connections that develop through casual interactions in office hours, pre-class discussions, post-class questions, and any other in-person interaction. These social connections are important for student retention, academic development, diversity, and inclusion. As we thoughtfully shift our courses online, we must also strategically consider how to best replicate or innovate to develop social connections. The purposeful use of social media presents a great opportunity for educators to connect with their students and recreate some of the social connections that are lost due to online education, while also providing new ways of developing connections. We present 10 tips for using social media to maintain and develop social connections.

  • Faculty Interventions Can Help Student Success

    (from Inside Higher Ed). Faculty Interventions Can Help Student Success. A new research paper shows that feedback and interventions from professors can have positive impacts on student success. The paper, "My Professor Cares: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Faculty Engagement," was published this month in the National Bureau of Economic Research. The researchers conducted several experiments, starting with a small pilot on an introductory microeconomics course, according to the brief. The premise was then scaled up to more than 43 classes and 4,000 students at a university. In the experiments, faculty sent "strategically timed" emails to students that included information about how to succeed in the class, the student's current standing and a reminder of when the professor was available. The results from the pilot group were successful.

  • Engaging a Village: Effective Strategies to Reach Every Corner of the Lecture Hall

    (from Faculty Focus). Engaging a Village: Effective Strategies to Reach Every Corner of the Lecture Hall. As educators, we often struggle to provide an effective learning environment for the students who are easily distracted and clamoring for more support. Technology in the classroom has the potential to engage students and allow us to be more hands-on with hundreds of students at a time, making students feel supported while engaging them in the classroom community. Some approaches are to flip the classroom, use problem-based learning, use teaching assistants to lead neighbors within the village and more.

  • Online and Hybrid Courses

    (from Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching) Online and Hybrid Courses.  As we consider these two methods of delivery, here are some helpful strategies. Online courses are those in which at least 80 percent of course content is delivered online. Blended (sometimes called hybrid) instruction has between 30 and 80 percent of the course content delivered online with some face-to-face interaction. Blended and online courses not only change how content is delivered, they also redefine traditional educational roles and provide different opportunities for learning. Making the shift to online learning can increase the potential for learners to take charge of their own learning process and facilitate the development of a sense of community among them. 


  • Six Things Faculty Can Do to Promote Student Engagement

    (from Faculty Focus). Six Things Faculty Can Do to Promote Student Engagement.  Start with redefining participation. For example, let it include more than verbal comments. Invite students to contribute electronically—with an email or post on the course website—with a question they didn’t ask in class, a comment they didn’t get to make, or a thought that came to them after class. Remind students that listening is also part of participation! Model and promote good listening skills. For example: “Did you hear wht Fredric just said? That’s an explanation also belongs in your notes.” Other strategies to promote student engagement include defining what learning is and designing authentic assignments and learning experiences.

  • Equitable Exams During COVID-19

    (from Inside Higher Ed) Equitable Exams During COVID-19. The equitability of online learning was called into question in March when institutions ceased classroom instruction. Educational institutions had to face the disparity of technological access needed to transition students to an online environment. Though recent data from the Pew Research Center show that 73 percent of adults have home broadband internet, the disaggregated data by household income paints a different picture. To mitigate some of the inequity, some institutions moved to pass/fail rather than letter grades, offering more flexibility to students. Now, institutions must consider equitable final exams. Even under normal circumstances, instructors must consider the purpose of an exam. Is it formative or summative? Are we testing for skill acquisition or memorization of knowledge? What is the purpose of the time limit? What is an acceptable deadline? As final exams draw near, instructors must consider how to create, administer and score final exams that are fair and equitable during this pivotal time.

  • Creating and Using Rubrics

    (from Carnegie Mellon University - The Eberly Center) Creating and Using Rubrics. A rubric is a scoring tool that explicitly describes the instructor’s performance expectations for an assignment or piece of work. A rubric identifies: criteria - the aspects of performance (e.g., argument, evidence, clarity) that will be assessed, descriptor - the characteristics associated with each dimension (e.g., argument is demonstrable and original, evidence is diverse and compelling), and the performance levels - a rating scale that identifies students’ level of mastery within each criterion. In addition, rubrics can be used to provide feedback to students on diverse types of assignments, from papers, projects, and oral presentations to artistic performances and group projects. Rubrics provide many benefits for both the instructor and the students.