As 2013 draws to a close, the editorial team at Faculty Focus looks back on some of the most popular articles of the past year. During the course of the year, we published more than 250 articles on a full range of topics of interest to today’s college educators.
In this post, we reveal the 13 articles that most resonated with our readers. Each article’s popularity ranking is based on a combination of factors, including e-newsletter open and click-thru rates, social shares, reader comments, web traffic, and other reader engagement metrics.
13. The Instructor’s Challenge: Moving Students beyond Opinions to Critical Thinking
Although a student’s opinion might be relevant and provide a bridge for additional discussion, the challenge is to prompt students to provide justifications and founded explanations of their views. What does a student learn if the only criteria for the assignment is read the textbook and tell me what the author said?
12. Adapting PowerPoint Lectures for Online Delivery: Best Practices
If you use PowerPoint lectures in your face-to-face classes, you can use those same lectures as jumping-off points for creating narrated animations for your online students to watch. That’s the good news. However, chances are you’ll need to make extensive changes — both to your existing PowerPoint slides, and to how you deliver them.
11. Prompts That Get Students to Analyze, Reflect, Relate, and Question
A simple teaching technique that helps students learn; now there’s something few teachers would pass up! This particular technique involves a four-question set that gets students actively responding to the material they are studying. They analyze, reflect, relate, and question via four prompts.
10. Encouraging Student Participation: Why It Pays to Sweat the Small Stuff
A recent classroom observation reminded me that student participation can be encouraged and supported by attention to small but important presentational details. In this article I have highlighted these details in the form of questions, and I hope that you’ll use them to reflect on the behaviors you’re using when seeking, listening, and responding to student contributions.
9. Keeping Introverts in Mind in Your Active Learning Classroom
Introverts. Who are they and how do we ensure they thrive in active learning classrooms? If you have ever come to the midterm point of the semester and graded a stellar paper by a student whose name you don’t recognize and who has never raised her hand in class, you may have just identified an introvert in your classroom.
8. Looking for ‘Flippable’ Moments in Your Class
“How do you determine what can be flipped?” With all of this discussion around flipped classrooms, more instructors are asking this question and wondering when and where flipped strategies are best integrated into the learning environment. Certainly, some topics lend themselves more easily to flipped strategies than others, but every lesson plan has the opportunity for at least one “flippable moment.”
7. Tips for Developing Students’ Note-taking Skills
Should students take notes? What about giving students access to your PowerPoint slides and lecture notes? Students have been known to ask for them pretty aggressively and lots of teachers do make them available. Is it a good idea?
6. Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher
Teaching face-to-face and teaching online are both teaching, but they are qualitatively different. In comparison, driving a car and riding a motorcycle are both forms of transportation, but they have enough differences to warrant additional training and preparation when switching from one to the other. With this in mind, consider the following eight roles of an effective online teacher.
5. Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice to the Online Classroom
Almost 25 years have passed since Chickering and Gamson offered their seven principles for good instructional practices. Originally written to communicate best practices for face-to-face instruction, the principles translate well to the online classroom and can help to provide guidance for those of us designing courses to be taught online.
4. Cell Phones in the Classroom: What’s Your Policy?
Are we old fuddy-duddies when we ask (demand) students to put away their cell phones in the classroom or clinical areas? Students tell me this is just the way it is now, but I disagree. I teach courses in health sciences. Students practice in hospitals, interacting with and caring for real patients.
3. First Day of Class Activities that Create a Climate for Learning
There’s no discounting the importance of the first day of class. What happens that day sets the tone for the rest of the course. Outlined below are a few novel activities for using that first day of class to emphasize the importance of learning and the responsibility students share for shaping the classroom environment.
2. Five Things You Should Do on the First Day of Class
There are lots of good first-day activities—we’ve shared some in this blog over the years. In this post I’d like to move our thinking in a different direction and suggest five first-day essentials that go beyond the activities. These are the goals for the first day that we can use the activities to accomplish.
1. Nine Characteristics of a Great Teacher
Great teaching seems to have less to do with our knowledge and skills than with our attitude toward our students, our subject, and our work. Although this list is certainly not all-inclusive, I have narrowed down the many characteristics of a great teacher to those I have found to be the most essential, regardless of the age of the learner.