March 31, 2008

Creating a Mindset for Collaboration

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Because we know that active engagement in collaborative projects can create a synergy among students that often surpasses what can be learned individually, we find ourselves designing assignments that create opportunities for students to collaborate and learn from one another. Also, the ability to work together in teams is a skill needed in today’s workforce. So for many reasons, assignments that foster collaboration have become essential parts of a well-designed course.


March 31, 2008

What Textbook Reading Teaches Students

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“Do we really need to buy the textbook? It’s so expensive!”
“Can’t you just summarize it for us?”
“Would you just tell us what parts will be on the exam?”
“It was so long and so boring. I couldn’t get through it!”

Quotes like these indicate that many of our students want us to help them with the hard work of extracting difficult material and new vocabulary from their textbooks. They may use the term “boring” but what they really mean is difficult and time consuming. In turn, we sometimes fall into the trap of summarizing the textbook in our lectures and our PowerPoint presentations.