September 28, 2011

The Question of Control in the College Classroom


The August 24 post, What Does Your Syllabus Say About You and Your Course?, in which I asked a series of questions designed to encourage revisiting the syllabus in terms of its role in setting course norms and establishing the tone of the course generated some interesting responses. I am always pleased when a post stimulates reaction, including disagreement. This is how we learn and grow as professionals. It also makes blogs worth reading, in my opinion.

September 26, 2011

Understanding the Potential Pitfalls of Social Media


Whether it’s the professor who creates Twitter backchannels in his courses, the admissions counselor who uses Facebook to engage prospective students, or the librarian who tweets about available resources in the library, higher education professionals have come up with a variety of creative ways to use social media both in and outside of the classroom.

September 23, 2011

Student Engagement Tip: Give Each Lesson its Own Theme Song


The challenge of engaging students in a large, introductory political science course, motivated Christopher Soper [article referenced below] to start exploring whether music might help him better connect students and course content. He now opens every class session with a song, and selecting those songs is part of an extra-credit assignment in the course.

September 21, 2011

Practical Ideas for Improving Student Participation


At a recent workshop at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, I asked participants to identify the one thing about participation they would most like to change in their classrooms. From a variety of items mentioned, we decided to focus on three. They are listed below along with a range of solutions suggested by the group. Some of the solutions apply to more than one of the problems.

September 14, 2011

When Your Students May be Smarter than You: Teaching Advanced Learners


While some college faculty bemoan the fact that their students are not critical thinkers, expressive writers, or otherwise scholarly inclined; those of us in professional schools, especially at the graduate level, may have the opposite problem. Our students may be so bright they scare our socks off.