online student typing July 24

Three Tools for Supporting Student Success


One of the three key tenets of metacognitive engagement in the classroom is teaching students heuristic strategies specific to the subject matter (Pintrich, 2002; Bembenutty, 2009). The other two are teaching students when to use the strategies and how to self-assess the successful use of those strategies. When considering critical thinking classes, this might involve teaching specific problem solving strategies, like the difference between permutations and combinations, as well as when each should be applied. However, other types of strategies could be beneficial, such as templates for assignments, video instructions, and detailed rubrics for self-assessment.

ff-tp-blog March 27, 2013

Student Persistence in Online Courses: Understanding the Key Factors


Who should be taking online courses? Are online courses equally appropriate for all students? Can any content be taught in an online format or do some kinds of material lend themselves to mastery in an electronic environment? Who should be teaching these courses? These are all good questions that institutions offering online courses—and instructors teaching them—should consider.

ff-icon-default-200x200 February 5, 2013

A Data-Driven Approach to Student Retention and Success


Higher education institutions generate a wealth of data that can be used to improve student success, but often the volume of data and lack of analysis prevent this data from having the impact it could have. “I think it’s hard for the general faculty population or administrator population to really have a handle on the data that is really driving decisions,” says Margaret Martin, Title III director and sociology professor at Eastern Connecticut State University. “They don’t get a chance to see it or they just get very infrequent information about it. So there may be too much data, but it’s often not communicated effectively to people in ways that are both understandable and useful to them.”

iStock_group-work-Small January 21, 2013

Promoting Student Success Through Collaboration


Last week, a student named Mary visited me during my office hours and presented me with an interesting dilemma. In one of her classes, a professor had distributed a study guide with a series of questions to help the students prepare for an upcoming exam. Mary, being the millennial student that she is, decided to upload the study guide into Google Docs and invite the rest of the class to contribute to the document. Students answered the study guide questions from each of their individual notes and then refined the answers from their peers.

26255546_web December 3, 2012

Academic Customer Service Shouldn’t be a Dirty Word


Earlier this year, we kicked off the semester with a faculty development workshop on academic customer service. Academic customer service is a hot and contentious topic on many college campuses, with faculty often reeling at the suggestion that students are customers (and therefore “always right”) or that education is a product intended for consumption. The feedback from our session in August was prickly and some of the comments demonstrated that we were in worse shape than I imagined.

ff-icon-default-200x200 March 30, 2010

Attitude Affects Learning


We know that what students believe about themselves as learners makes a difference, but sometimes a specific example really makes the point. Here’s a study that does just that. It involved beginning students taking a general chemistry course. At the beginning of the course they took a Self-Concept Inventory designed for chemistry students. Its five scales measure, among other things, a chemistry self-concept, a mathematics self-concept, and an academic self-concept.