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Energize Your Classroom with Humor

Numerous studies on humor in the classroom acknowledge the important role it plays in the learning process. Humor has been reported to increase motivation, enhance the retention of new information, advance problem-solving skills, encourage creativity and critical thinking, facilitate a positive learning environment, and decrease exam anxiety (Martin, 2007). Given its importance, I’d like to suggest several ways to energize your college classroom with humor.


Using Content Curation Tools to Engage Students

When I was in college (for 12 years I might add) there were really only three sources of information available to students: 1) Instructor 2) Textbook 3) Library. This was not such a distant past. A mere two decades ago I finished my undergrad, and I graduated with my PhD in 2001. I don’t think learning, or even how we learn, has changed all that much since then. But what has changed is access to information and how that access might actually distract from learning.


Students and Attention: An Interesting Analysis

Most teachers daily confront the reality that student attention wanders in class. They can be seen nodding off, sleeping, gazing distractedly at some point other than the front of the room, texting, or working on something for another class. It’s a problem, and one that teachers often find hard not to take personally. Dealing with the emotional reaction engendered by inattention is easier when it’s more fully understood, and here’s an example that illustrates why.


Teaching Unprepared Students: The Importance of Increasing Relevance

It is difficult to teach if students are unprepared to learn. In a 2013 Faculty Focus reader survey, faculty were asked to rank their biggest day-to-day challenges. “Students who are not prepared for the rigors of college” and “Students who come to class unprepared” finished in a statistical dead heat as the #1 challenge; roughly 30% of the respondees rated both challenges as “very problematic.”


Keeping Introverts in Mind in Your Active Learning Classroom

Introverts. Who are they and how do we ensure they thrive in active learning classrooms? If you have ever come to the midterm point of the semester and graded a stellar paper of a student whose name you don’t recognize and who has never raised her hand in class, you may have just identified an introvert in your classroom.


Recent Seminars


Helping Introverts Thrive in an Active Learning Classroom

For introverted students, the discomfort of participation far outweighs the benefits of active learning. During this seminar, you’ll gain a wealth of practical, ready-to-implement ideas to enhance the overall cohesion and performance of your classes and make them welcoming places for all students, no matter where they fall on the introversion-extroversion spectrum.

Online Seminar • Recorded on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Motivating Students with Teaching Techniques that Establish Relevance, Promote Autonomy

Underachievement in college students is linked to lack of motivation (Balduf, 2009 and references therein). Two major factors that contribute to poor motivation are inability of students to see the relevance of classroom activities to their chosen careers (Glynn et al., 2009) and lack of a sense of autonomy (Reeve and Jang, 2006; Reeve, 2009).


Teaching Unprepared Students: Strategies that Work

More and more students are arriving on campus without the tools they need to succeed. Some lack skills, others lack motivation, and many just don’t seem to “get” that college takes hard work and commitment. Led by Ken Alford and Tyler Griffin, this seminar provides guidance on how to get unprepared students better aligned with the demands of college.

Online Seminar • Recorded on Thursday, November 21st, 2013

How Do I Build Community in My Classroom?

Mixing research findings, personal experience, and practical tips, Milton Cox explains how community in the classroom supports student learning and shares proven practices for increasing a sense of community in your course.


“I Don’t Like This One Little Bit.” Tales from a Flipped Classroom

The Internet flipped learning before instructors did. Want to find out something? Google it. Wikipedia it. Use your laptop or smartphone or iPad. That’s where the “answers” are. Some of us initially reacted to this cyber-democratization of information asserting, “This isn’t right! The Internet is full of incomplete and simply wrong information.” But the challenge to the classroom was more profound. It has raised questions among students and even administrators about the need for face-to-face classrooms at all, as if correct information and unchallenged “opinions” were all that was needed.