CURRENT ARTICLE • October 24th college students in class

Teaching Critical Thinking: Some Practical Points


We all endorse it and we all want our students to do it. We also claim to teach it. “It” is critical thinking, and very few of us actually teach it or even understand what it is (Paul & Elder, 2013). Research tells us that our students learn critical thinking only after we receive training in how to teach it and design our courses explicitly and intentionally to foster critical thinking skills (Abrami, Bernard, Borokhovski, Wade, Surkes, Tamim, & Zhang, 2008). We have to start by formulating assessable critical thinking learning outcomes and building our courses around them.


Professional Adjunct Podcast October 21

PA022: Creating and Managing Successful Online Faculty Learning Communities, An Interview with Dr. Jennifer Goode


In this episode, we sit down with Dr. Goode to discuss the opportunities provided by Faculty Learning Communities (FLC’s), an established method of small-group faculty development. She addresses the challenges in managing them, including participation, commitment, follow-through, and the ability focus on goals—all of which are magnified if the faculty members are geographically separated. She also shares with us many of the positive outcomes and benefits from FLC’s and how they can be implemented at any institution. One of the interesting things about this is the competitive application process to take part in the FLC’s.

Professor in front of class. October 19

Getting More out of Exam Debriefs


Brief—that pretty much describes exam debriefs in many courses. The teacher goes over the most commonly missed questions, and the students can ask about answers but generally don’t. These kinds of debriefs don’t take up a lot of class time, but that’s about all that can be said for them. For some time now, I’ve been suggesting that students, not the teacher, should be correcting the wrong answers. The students are the ones who missed the questions.

Diverse group of university students in classroom October 17

Getting Names Right: It’s Personal


Editor’s Note: The following article was excerpted with permission from To My Professor: Student Voices for Great College Teaching, a new book that brings together student experiences and opinions with advice from master educators and experts. The book was written by students at Michigan State University under the guidance of Joe Grimm, visiting editor in residence in the MSU School of Journalism since 2008.

“I spend a lot of money to go to school here. It would be nice if a professor knew my name.”

“I appreciate the fact that you asked me what I wanted to be called because my name has various pronunciations in different languages.”

Professional Adjunct Podcast October 14

PA021: Leveraging Technology to Maximize Teaching Effectiveness, An Interview with Dr. Jean Mandernach


On this episode, we sat down with Dr. Jean Mandernach at the Teaching Professor Technology Conference and discussed leveraging technology to maximize teaching effectiveness. We also discussed her presentation, One Size Doesn’t Fit All, and Pedagogy First, a tool to help instructors select the most appropriate instructional technology for their class.

student on laptop in library October 14

Online Discussion Forums as Assessment Tools


Classroom Assessment Techniques, or CATs, are simple ways to evaluate students’ understanding of key concepts before they get to the weekly, unit, or other summative-type assessment (Angelo & Cross, 1993). CATs were first made popular in the face-to-face teaching environment by Angelo and Cross as a way to allow teachers to better understand what their students were learning and how improvements might be made in real time during the course of instruction. But the same principle can apply to online teaching as well.

Professional Adjunct Podcast October 7

PA020: Copyright and Universal Design for Learning, An Interview with Dr. Thomas J. Tobin


When it comes to copyrights, do you know the difference between material you create for your class and material you are contracted to create for a class? Who owns the rights to that material? According to copyright law, can you use a student’s paper as an example in future classes? These are some of the questions Thomas Tobin, PhD, answers in our interview conducted at the Teaching Professor Technology Conference this past weekend in Atlanta.

Professor with students October 5

Why We Teach


We’re at that time of the academic year when the daily details begin to pile up. Teach a class, grade assignments, schedule advisees, and prep for tomorrow. It may not feel like a grind just yet, but it does require lots of focused energy, which makes this a perfect time for a quick reflection on why we teach. For some, teaching is just a job; it’s a paycheck necessity. But for readers of a blog on teaching and learning, I’m pretty sure we’re in it for something more than the bucks, which tend to be pretty modest anyway.