student at white board July 29

A Learner-Centered Syllabus Helps Set the Tone for Learning

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At its most basic level, the syllabus is used to communicate information about the course, the instructor, learning objectives, assignments, grading policies, due dates, the university’s academic integrity statement, and, in some cases, an increasingly long list of strongly worded admonitions on what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in the college classroom.


Fotosearch_WomanComputer August 12, 2013

Advice for the First Day of Class: Today We Will

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The first day of class is critical. What happens on the first day, even in the first moments, sets the tone for the entire course. The impression you make will last the entire semester, and today’s students are not shy about sharing their opinions. Most students will make up their minds about the course and the instructor during that first class period.


ff-icon-default-200x200 March 22, 2013

Reflections on Teaching: From Surviving to Thriving

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Editor’s Note: In part one of this article, the author shared openly some of the mistakes he made early in his teaching career. In this entry, he outlines some of the changes he’s made to his teaching over the years and the principles he uses to guide his teaching.

I had known it all along at some level, but now it suddenly became glaringly obvious to me. Deep down, sometimes out of conscious reach, students want to be transformed and their lives made more useful, productive, and powerful. I added the following new goal to my personal mission statement:


iStock_circle-discussion230 January 28, 2013

Love the One You’re With: Creating a Classroom Community

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It’s the first day of class. They shuffle in, spot similar life-forms, and slip in with that group. Hipsters sporting wild hair and tats, buttoned-up and serious young scholars, middle-aged moms and dads, maybe a couple of aging hippies. One or two sad souls choose spots isolated from the others; they don’t want to identify with them for reasons of insecurity, arrogance, or something else.


ff-tp-blog September 19, 2012

Cultivating Curiosity in Our Students as a Catalyst for Learning

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There’s not much pedagogical literature on the topic of curiosity. In fact the article referenced here is the only piece I can remember seeing on the subject, which is a bit surprising because curiosity does play an important role in learning. One of the definitions offered in the article explains how the two relate. “Curiosity, a state of arousal involving exploratory behavior, leads to thinking and thinking culminates in learning.” (p. 53)


ff-icon-default-200x200 August 9, 2010

Digital Storytelling Brings a Human Connection to Online Education

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Once upon a time people told stories to share experiences and to teach. With the growing popularity of distance learning modalities educator have been searching for ways to enhance social presence and reflective thinking in the online learning experience. The use of digital storytelling might be a strategy to bring human thought and emotion into online education.



ff-icon-default-200x200 February 15, 2010

Learning Spaces that Facilitate Student Learning

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As a college student, I always liked it when I had a course that met in Edwards Hall – if for no other reason than a lot of the classrooms in that building had theater-style seating with chairs that swiveled. The fact that I would remember that after all of these years is an indication of the effect a more welcoming learning space can have on students.