professor and student discussing grade October 18

Using Rubrics as a Defense Against Grade Appeals

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Faculty dread the grade appeal; anxiety prevails until the whole process is complete. Much has been written about how to avoid such instances, but the potentially subjective assessments of written essays or clinical skills can be especially troublesome. One common cause of grade appeals is grading ambiguity in which the student and faculty member disagree on the interpretation of required content. Another cause is inequity, whereby the student feels others may have gotten more credit for very similar work or content (Hummel 2010). In the health-care field especially, these disagreements over clinical-skills assessments can actually result in student dismissal from the program and may lead to lawsuits.


class discussion and hot moments October 16

Seven Bricks to Lay the Foundation for Productive Difficult Dialogues

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There are three basic ways that I hear faculty talk about difficult dialogues—in-class dialogues that were planned but did not go particularly well; in-class hot moments that were not anticipated and that the faculty member did not feel equipped to handle; and difficult dialogues that happen during office hours or outside of class.




pre-licensure testing October 9

Proactively Equipping Beginning Principal Preparation Students with Pre-Licensure Testing Strategies

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Presently, 40 states have adopted a full or partial interpretation of the Educational Leadership Consortium Council (ELLC) standards (Vogel & Weiler, 2014). Principal preparation programs must fully integrate these standards into their course curriculum, if their driving force is student success. It is anticipated that by adhering to ELCC standards, accredited CAEP principal preparation programs are naturally employing the most current leadership knowledge and best leadership practices throughout their coursework (Vogel & Weiler, 2014).


illusions of fluency October 8

Disrupting Illusions of Fluency

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No matter the academic discipline, course level, or time of day, the last five minutes of class often present instructors with a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is maintaining students’ interest. Disrupting “illusions of fluency” is the opportunity. The term refers to misjudging the depth of what one knows (Carey 2015). Further, it describes the belief that a mastery over something has been achieved, when actually it has not (Lang 2016). The final class minutes can be best spent constructively assessing levels of student learning and understanding of course material.


college students in class October 4

Teaching Critical Thinking: Some Practical Points

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We all endorse it and we all want our students to do it. We also claim to teach it. “It” is critical thinking, and very few of us actually teach it or even understand what it is (Paul & Elder, 2013). Research tells us that our students learn critical thinking only after we receive training in how to teach it and design our courses explicitly and intentionally to foster critical thinking skills (Abrami, Bernard, Borokhovski, Wade, Surkes, Tamim, & Zhang, 2008). We have to start by formulating assessable critical thinking learning outcomes and building our courses around them.


Curriculum to Career October 2

From Curriculum to Career: Connecting Curriculum Outcomes to Future Careers

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Students often arrive at university level instruction with some idea of their future employment direction. It is important for university instructors to seize their student’s career enthusiasm and foster a connection between the curriculum and potential future career applications. Providing students with an opportunity to connect their classroom learning, (online or face-to-face) with workplace relevance will result in many positive learning outcomes such as motivation, grit, and career goal setting. As stated by Schwartz, Gregg, and McKee (2018) “Guidance and information focused on careers should be included throughout one’s undergraduate experience” (p. 51). To integrate career content into the classroom the following tips are suggested: integrating career focused topics in discussions and activities; using and integrating services offered by career resource centers; including guest speakers; and incorporating additional online career resources. These strategies help foster a connection between course material and professions and careers students may be considering.


Teaching first October 1

Put Teaching First

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Universities are strange places. People pay thousands of dollars a year to be taught by supersmart people. These supersmart people are required to do research, write grants, and bring in money and resources to their university. Teaching is only a minor—almost insignificant—part of the job. While this often goes without saying at big R1 universities, it is surprising that this is all too often also true at smaller “teaching” colleges. At my home university, Adelphi, teaching is emphasized, but this is often the exception and not the rule.


Active Learning Strategies September 27

Three Active Learning Strategies That Push Students Beyond Memorization

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Those who teach in the health disciplines expect their students to retain and apply every iota of learned material. However, many students come to us having achieved academic success by memorizing the content, regurgitating that information onto an exam, and promptly forgetting a good portion of it. In health, as well as other disciplines where new material builds upon the material from the previous semesters, it is critical for students to retain what they learn throughout their coursework and as they begin their careers as a nurse, engineer, elementary teacher, etc.