Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Effective Teaching Strategies

How to Give Effective Feedback on Student Writing Assignments

How often does this happen to you? You pore over students’ writing assignments, adding what you feel are insightful and encouraging comments throughout each paper. Comments you hope your students will take to heart and use to improve their writing next time around. Then you return the papers and the students quickly look at the grade and stuff the paper into their backpacks … perhaps mumbling something under their breath as they do.

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Using the Syllabus to Create an Engaging Classroom Climate

It’s important at the beginning of a course for students and their instructor to find out about each other. This exchange of information helps to create classroom climates of respect and fosters a spirit of exchange that can encourage students to ask questions, make comments, and otherwise participate in dialogue throughout the course.

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Group Work Tip: Make Leaders Accountable for Group Performance

Faculty who regularly use group work are always on the lookout for new and better ways of handling those behaviors that compromise group effectiveness—group members who don’t carry their weight and the negative attitudes students frequently bring with them to group work.

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Techniques for Helping Students Take Control of Their Learning

It’s a balancing act educators often face …how to structure interactions with students to provide appropriate levels of assistance, while encouraging them to take ownership of their learning. In preparation for an online seminar on this topic Dr. Ike Shibley, associate professor of Chemistry at Penn State – Berks, provided a few strategies for faculty to try.

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Using Twitter to Facilitate Classroom Discussions

As a history major I usually found most of my history courses pretty interesting. Certainly some were more interesting than others but I think a lot of that had more to do with the instructor than the content. Of course not every student who takes a history class course plans to major in it, which is why I love it when I hear about a history professor (or any educator for that matter) doing innovative things to engage students in one of those “core courses” many students often dread.

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Voucher Points Help Build Student Engagement

I happened on the idea of giving voucher points accidentally, but over the years they’ve proven quite valuable in promoting active student involvement. It started when I was still teaching math in high school, and a student came up with a particularly clever method of solving a mathematics problem. As a reward, I wrote him an IOU good for one point on any of my tests. A few months later it happened again, and then later on I gave out a third voucher point. That semester, I received very positive comments about the practice on my student evaluations. Students requested that I “do voucher points more often.”

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