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Motivating Students: Should Effort Count?

I’ve always said no, effort shouldn’t count. When students pleaded, “but I worked so hard,” or “I studied so long,” I would respond with the clichéd quip about people with brain tumors not wanting surgeons who try hard. Besides if students try hard, if they do their assignments, come to class, take notes, ask questions, and study on more nights than the one before the exam, that effort will pay off. They will learn the material, and their grades will reflect that learning.


Examining Knowledge Beliefs to Motivate Student Learning

“I just cram for the exam and then forget everything.”

“If I can just get this last paper done I am in the clear.”

Comments like these make us cringe, but we all know the external factors that motivate students: grades, grades, grades. I spend a great amount of time providing students with concrete, detailed feedback on papers only to hear someone say, “Oh, I didn’t look at the feedback, just the grade.” From a faculty perspective, the grade is the least important. The joy of student engagement and learning drives our work. We ended up in higher education for a reason—most of us see great value in the learning process.


The Secret of Self-Regulated Learning

Self-regulated learning is like your own little secret. It stirs from within you, and is the voice in your head that asks you questions about your learning.

More formally, self-regulated learning is the conscious planning, monitoring, evaluation, and ultimately control of one’s learning in order to maximize it. It’s an ordered process that experts and seasoned learners like us practice automatically. It means being mindful, intentional, reflective, introspective, self-aware, self-controlled, and self-disciplined about learning, and it leads to becoming self-directed.


What’s an Empowered Student?

That was the question, followed by, “Are they students who want to take over the classroom?” “No,” I replied, “it’s about how students approach learning—motivated, confident, and ready to tackle the task.”


Recent Seminars


How to Integrate Self-Regulated Learning into Your Courses

Led by Linda B. Nilson, PhD, director of the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation at Clemson University, this online seminar will prepare you to select, adapt, design, and integrate proven self-regulated learning assignments and activities into the courses you’re teaching right now.

Online Seminar • Recorded on Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Student Motivation: Moving Beyond “Leading a Horse to Water”

When it comes to student motivation, does the axiom, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” apply? Although I believe that, as instructors, we cannot force motivation and learning upon students, we do play a vital role regarding student motivation and a student’s ability to gain knowledge and proficiency in the subject matter.


Nine Strategies to Spark Adult Students’ Intrinsic Motivation

Are you an instructor who struggles to change the mindset of your students? Do you find that the students’ first questions are about grades rather than the content of the course? Do you want your students to obtain good grades but realize that the grade is a result of a student who is engaged in the topic with passion, interest, and exuberance? It is this passion to learn that can be described as intrinsic motivation.


A Quiz Design that Motivates Students

Many faculty members use quizzes to keep students prepared and present in class. The approach often tends to be punitive, however, motivating students by extrinsic means. Karen Braun and Drew Sellers, who teach beginning accounting courses, wanted to use quizzes in the usual ways—to get students coming to class having done the reading, to arrive in class on time, and to participate in class discussion, but they wanted their quizzes to be more about intrinsic motivation and less about assessment. How did they achieve that objective? They incorporated a number of “motivational” design features into their use of quizzes.


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

Six Tips for Keeping Students Engaged

When you look around your classroom, do you see students texting under their desks, or worse yet, right out in the open? Do you have students who skip class, arrive late or leave early, or come unprepared? If so, Christy Price, EdD has some words of advice for you.


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