July 11, 2012

A Failure to Communicate

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At my house, we’re deep into a host of summer projects and are having our usual communication difficulties. Yesterday my brother Charles and I were trying to help my husband Michael tie sheets of plywood to a cart so they could be transported to a work site. “Put the rope under the board. No, not all the way under. Put it under and over the top.” My mentally challenged brother is confused and frustrated as he tries to put the rope where Michael wants it. “No, loop it over.” I’m eager to help but I haven’t a clue where the rope is supposed to go.


May 24, 2011

“Why Are We Doing This?” Establishing Relevance to Enhance Student Learning

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Students frequently wonder and sometimes ask, “Why are we doing this? Why do I need to know this? Why are we spending so much time on this? Why do we have to do this busywork?”

When students don’t see the connection between the content and activities of the course and their future lives, they question what’s happening and what we ask them to do. Research confirms that perceived relevance is a critical factor in maintaining student interest and motivation. It also contributes to higher student ratings on course evaluations.



January 21, 2010

Helping Students Understand Intended Learning Outcomes

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Faculty who communicate intended learning outcomes help students to be more aware of their learning. The realities of “meta-learning” are that students gain practice in becoming more reflective on their experiences as learners—they start to see the why and how of education as it translates into knowledge and skills. Just as important is how they begin to view the educational experience in its entirety.