As educators, we share the challenge of how to teach an overwhelming amount of content in a short period of time to a sometimes motivated but often bored and listless student population. I do believe that most students enter higher education with a true desire to master their subject area. Some are even interested in learning for the sake of learning. But lectures overloaded with PowerPoint slides quickly change the motivation to extrinsic. This is especially true in fields where high-stakes testing determines future career options.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
building student engagement
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.
Finding ways to actively engage your students can significantly enhance student learning. In an email interview with The Teaching Professor, Alice Cassidy PhD explains how to select and implement active learning techniques that are well suited to your content and students.
Frustrated with the traditional lecture format in an upper-level chemistry class that enrolled more than 100 students, and envious of my teaching assistants who spent time in small recitations working on problem solving with my students, I designed an approach I call the “The Front Row.” It brings a small group feel into a large classroom.
Instructors face a Herculean challenge in managing discussion – whether the discussion is face-to-face or online. To be an effective instructor, it is important to learn how to facilitate discussion, and keep the dialogue flowing without veering off topic.
An intense couple of days at this year’s Teaching Professor Conference inspired me to revamp my course, and I’m starting at the very beginning. My goal is to set the perfect tone to inspire and engage as soon as students walk through my door. I’m taking the Dale Carnegie approach to people and applying that to the classroom. “There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything,” Carnegie writes. “Just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.”
As we mentioned in the June 28 and July 5 posts, during the opening keynote at The Teaching Professor Conference, Elizabeth F. Barkley, a professor
During the opening keynote at The Teaching Professor Conference, Elizabeth F. Barkley, a professor at Foothill College and author of Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (Jossey-Bass, 2010) presented on a topic she titled Terms of Engagement: Understanding and Promoting Student Engagement in Today’s College Classroom.
At one point, a General Chemistry course at Penn State Berks had a success rate of about 50 percent, giving the multi-section course the dubious distinction of having one of the lowest GPAs on campus. After a thorough redesign, the course now consistently achieves a success rate of well over 70 percent, while the student ratings of the course and the instructors have never been higher. The key element in this chemistry course’s redesign? Clickers.