June 11, 2009

Voucher Points Help Build Student Engagement


I happened on the idea of giving voucher points accidentally, but over the years they’ve proven quite valuable in promoting active student involvement. It started when I was still teaching math in high school, and a student came up with a particularly clever method of solving a mathematics problem. As a reward, I wrote him an IOU good for one point on any of my tests. A few months later it happened again, and then later on I gave out a third voucher point. That semester, I received very positive comments about the practice on my student evaluations. Students requested that I “do voucher points more often.”

October 5, 2008

The Wizard of Oz: A Metaphor for Teaching Excellence


When reflecting on my experiences as a college professor, several themes from The Wizard of Oz often surface. This well-known story provides a metaphorical view of behaviors that I strive to achieve in my ongoing work with students. In the familiar foursome’s journey to the Emerald City, I see characteristics necessary for teaching excellence—the need to improve, fine-tune and revamp as we travel with students through courses and curricula.