Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Effective Teaching Strategies

Helping Students Understand What They Read

Many college students struggle with their reading assignments. As a teacher educator with expertise in reading development and disability, I find it useful to model effective reading strategies and provide immediate feedback on those strategies frequently used by students. One versatile method I use with undergraduates involves examination of what they underline (or highlight). Throughout the semester, I ask students to refer to their assigned readings and share with the class passages they underlined and reasons for their selection. In this way, the types of thinking that accompanies purposeful, active reading become more apparent.

Read More »

Six Keys to More Effective Class Discussions

Students find discussions disillusioning just about as often as faculty do. In the analysis referenced below, students objected when a few fellow classmates dominated the discussion; when the discussion wandered off topic, making it difficult to ascertain main points; and when students participated just for the sake of participating.

Read More »

Going Beyond Office Hours to Improve Student Learning

Two of the big buzzwords in higher education are “student engagement” and “teacher effectiveness.” One way to address these intertwined issues is to improve the quality of student-teacher interactions both inside and outside the classroom.

Read More »

Teaching with Technology: A More Meaningful Learning Experience Starts with Two Simple Questions

We are bombarded with information about online course supplements and the newest interactive multimedia components, all touted as the best approach to engage today’s learners in the online environment. Dedicated practitioners puzzle over how, when, and where to incorporate multimedia within their online courses and further agonize over the potential effects of choosing not to do so.

Read More »

Meta-Collaboration: Writing with Students to Engage Learning

In one of my favorite A Midsummer Night’s Dream passages by William Shakespeare, Theseus comments on the creation of poetry. Informing us that the “poet’s eye” in a “fine frenzy rolling” glances from “heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,” we learn about the process of making sense of the world and composing something about it.

Read More »
colored pencils

Five Questions that Improve Student Writing

Before embarking on a writing assignment, I challenge my students to imagine a skeptical reader who expects them to answer five important questions. Answering these questions demands critical writing and thinking, and helps the students develop thoughtful content, efficient structure, and clear sentences.

Read More »

Five Tips for Wrapping Up a Course

The ending of a course deserves greater attention than it typically receives. While we have thoroughly ritualized the start of a new semester often somewhere between weeks 11 and 14, what seemed like reasonable plans are regretfully sidelined and we launch into catch-up overdrive.

Read More »

Can Clickers Enhance Student Learning?

Dr. Peter M. Saunders, director of Oregon State University’s Center for Teaching and Learning, has heard the horror stories, and understands why faculty were hesitant to use clickers in the early years.

Read More »

Problem-Based Learning: Benefits and Risks

Problem-based learning, the instructional approach in which carefully constructed, open-ended problems are used by groups of students to work through content to a solution, has gained a foothold in many quarters of higher education.

Read More »