Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

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Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

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  • 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. 

  • Make the Most of the First Day of Class

    Make the Most of the First Day of Class. The first day of class always creates some nervousness, even for seasoned instructors. It helps to have a mental checklist of objectives to accomplish so that you and your students come away with the impression that the course is off to a good start. The first class meeting should serve at least two basic purposes: 1) to clarify all reasonable questions students might have relative to the course objectives, as well as your expectations for their performance in class. As students leave the first meeting, they should believe in your competence to teach the course, be able to predict the nature of your instruction, and know what you will require of them and 2) to give you an understanding of who is taking your course and what their expectations are. Here are eight concrete objectives from these two purposes.

  • Using Your Syllabus as a Learning Resource

    Using Your Syllabus as a Learning Resource.  We know students do not take it upon themselves to read the syllabus. Yet syllabus indifference still bewilders me after teaching for 25 years, given that my syllabi are conveniently available online and in hard copy, and are replete with information virtually assuring success with my courses. Tired of asking students to “read the syllabus for that information,” a number of years ago I decided to incorporate my syllabus into each class meeting as a learning resource. Three strategies have proven quite successful.

  • Ten Tips for More Efficient and Effective Grading

    (from Faculty Focus). Ten Tips for More Efficient and Effective Grading. Many instructors dread grading, not just because grading takes up a sizable amount of time and can prove itself a tedious task, but also because instructors struggle with grading effectively and efficiently. However, effective grading does not have to take inordinate amounts of time, nor does one need to sacrifice quality for speed. The following tips can help instructors grade more effectively while enhancing student learning

  • A Mountain of Grading

    (from Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching). A Mountain of Grading. Now that the final exams are almost over, do you find yourself facing a large mountain of grading? And, perhaps, you wonder if you are spending more time grading than your students spent completing that assignment?  Consider the notion of “light grading” where you limit your comments or notations to those your students can use for further learning or improvement.  Here are some suggestions on how to do that.

  • Ending the Semester

    (from Georgetown University The Teaching Commons). Ending the Semester. A semester is a marathon effort, and, by the time you reach the end of it, it’s quite possible that everyone—you and the students both—will be exhausted, and perhaps very ready to leave the course behind. But one last thoughtful push can ensure that the course’s conclusion is meaningful in its own right. Think about a) looking back, b) gathering feedback, and c) looking forward regarding this semester's courses

  • Fizzle or Finale: The Final Day of Class

    (from Duquesne University Center for Teaching Excellence). Fizzle or Finale: The Final Day of Class.Many courses end with a fizzle.  Frank Heppner (2007) aptly says, “In most classes, The Last Lecture was about as memorable as the rest of the class had been – that is, not very.”  The final class should bring the course to an appropriate conclusion or finale.  “For many..., the last day of class comes and goes without ceremony, yet it provides an opportunity to bring the student-teacher experience to a close in a way that students appreciate and enjoy” (Lucas and Bernstein, 2008). How can you make the final day into a finale? Some ways are: give a momento, “pass the torch,” and make emotional connections.