Our Top 11 Teaching and Learning Articles of 2016

It wouldn’t be the end of the year without a few top 10 lists. As we prepare to put 2016 in the rearview mirror, we’re offering up our own list, which goes to 11.

Throughout 2016, we published more than 200 articles. The articles covered a wide range of teaching and learning topics, including diversity and inclusion, critical thinking, peer feedback, assignment strategies, course design, flipped learning, online discussions, and grading policies.

In this post, we reveal the 11 articles that most resonated with our readers. Each article’s ranking is based on a combination of factors, including e-newsletter open and click rates, social shares, reader comments, web traffic, reprint requests, and other reader engagement metrics.

11. Why Are We So Slow to Change the Way We Teach?
Many aspects of teaching—lecture, course design, assignments, and grading—have changed little over the years. The question is, “Why?”

10. Backward Design, Forward Progress
Backward course design forces us, as faculty, to make tough decisions about what content is really needed for our students to achieve their learning goals.

9. The Ugly Consequences of Complaining about ‘Students These Days’
What we say about students becomes what we think about them. And that’s when it starts getting dangerous, because it affects how we teach.

8. Three Focusing Activities to Engage Students in the First Five Minutes of Class
You can use a focusing activity to introduce a new idea or to set the stage for what’s to come during class. They can be high-tech, low-tech, or no tech.

7. Student Engagement Strategies for the Online Learning Environment
Our faculty development unit gathered data from students about how engaged they felt in their online courses. Their comments helped inform our teaching.

6. A Memo to Students about Studying for Finals
The end of the semester is rarely pretty. You’re tired. I’m tired. We both have too much to do, and you’re feeling the pressure to perform well on finals.

5. Six Things Faculty Can Do to Promote Student Engagement
Last week’s post encouraged us to reconsider what student engagement means. Today we explore some of the things teachers can do to better promote it.

4. A Practical Approach for Increasing Students’ In-Class Questions
Why don’t students ask questions in class? Is it shyness, lack of preparedness, or something else? Perhaps they simple don’t know where to begin.

3. Supporting Transgender Students in the Classroom
The needs of our transgender students are too often overlooked. This article outlines strategies to support gender diversity in your inclusive classroom.

2. Ready to Flip: Three Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Pre-Class Work
One of the biggest questions about the flipped classroom model is how to get students to actually do the pre-class work and come to class prepared.

1. A Memo to My Students Re: College and the Real World
What happens in college and what you’ll be doing in your career aren’t the same, but they aren’t as different as many of you seem to think.