Six Things You Can Do to Deepen Student Learning

For baseball fans and players, springtime can only mean one thing: spring training. Every year professional baseball players head to Arizona or Florida to hone their craft. These are professionals mind you, but they continue to spend hours each year working on many of the same things Little Leaguers work on during the start of their seasons—throwing, catching, hitting, base running, and so forth. As they make minor adjustments in these fundamentals of the game, the overall outcome is a major improvement. The same is true for faculty who remain mindful of their fundamentals, and make small, incremental improvements to their teaching.

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Top 17 of 2017: Our Most Popular Teaching and Learning Articles

As another year draws to a close, the editorial team at Faculty Focus looks back on some of the most popular articles of the year. Throughout 2017, we published more than 200 articles, covering a wide range of teaching and learning topics, including assignment strategies, cell phone policies, course design, flipped classrooms, online discussions, study strategies, and grading policies.

In this, our last post of the year, we reveal the top 17 articles for 2017. 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.

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Highlights from the Magna Teaching with Technology Conference

More than 400 college faculty attended the Magna Teaching with Technology Conference last month in Baltimore, and they came away with a dizzying amount of new ideas, strategies that work, and pragmatic ways to integrate technology into their teaching. This article provides a snapshot of the event’s three plenary presentations.

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How to Make the Most of Your First Year of Teaching

Crowdsourcing advice for new faculty

This fall, thousands of new college teachers walked into their very own classrooms for the first time. They’ve ignored the butterflies, handled the inevitable technical malfunctions with aplomb, and learned to successfully navigate both the campus web portal and the faculty parking lot. But there’s so much to learn, and none of it has to do with course content. They’ve had some real affirming moments, but most days feel like a race to stay a step ahead of the students. They feel like imposters … worried that their students, their colleagues, and, worst of all, their department chair will discover that they really don’t know how to teach.

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The Teaching Professor Newsletter Celebrates 30 Years

Where were you 30 years ago? Maryellen Weimer, PhD, was writing the very first issue of The Teaching Professor newsletter, and she hasn’t stopped since. In March 1987, Magna Publications published volume 1, number 1 of The Teaching Professor. The opening article read, in part: “With all the enthusiasm of a new beginning, Magna begins publication of a newsletter for college professors about college teaching. … Can instruction be improved by reading material about teaching and learning? Yes. Reading about teaching forces reflection. It creates instructional awareness by causing faculty to wonder: Do I do that? Should I do that? Infusing teaching with a steady supply of new ideas keeps it fresh and invigorated.” That philosophy of reflection and instructional awareness has remained a constant theme throughout the decades. As has the importance of keeping teaching fresh, regardless of teaching experience or discipline.

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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.

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Reader Survey Finds Unprepared Students a Persistent Problem

Quick, what’s your biggest teaching challenge? If you said it's students who don’t read their assignments or prepare for class, you’re in good company. For the fourth consecutive year that we posed that question in our survey, Faculty Focus readers identified students who come to class unprepared as their biggest day-to-day challenge. It was followed closely by students who are not prepared for the rigors of college. Finishing third this year was institutional budget cuts, which edged out student motivation for the first time. Technology distractions remained as the fifth biggest challenge.

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Survey Highlights Growth of Video in Higher Ed, Optimism over OER

An annual survey on video in higher education found that more than half of the institutions who responded now use a video solution integrated into their Learning Management System. The figure is up 6% from 46% last year. In addition, three quarters of students in higher education use video in their assignments, up 4% on last year’s figure of 71%.

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Lecture vs. Active Learning: Reframing the Conversation

Exchanges about the relative merits of lecture and active learning continue, and these exchanges are becoming more acrimonious and polarized. Either you are for lecturing (and against active learning) or you’re for active learning (and against lecturing). Active learning advocates have the evidence; those who lecture stand on tradition. Where is this debate headed? How accurately does it reflect what’s actually happening in classrooms? Is there a viable place in the middle?

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