Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Articles

Enhancing Out-of-Class Communication: Students’ Top 10 Suggestions

Out-of-class communication makes student-teacher relationships more personal and contributes to student learning. It is also the wellspring for continued academic exchange and mentoring. Unfortunately, electronic consultations via email have diminished the use of in-person office hours. Although students and faculty favor email contact because it’s so efficient, interpersonal exchanges still play an important role in the learning process—much research verifies this. As teachers we have a responsibility to encourage, indeed entice, our students to meet with us face-to-face.

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An Assessment Technique Using Research Articles

In entry-level courses it’s often a struggle to get students to see that the content has larger significance and intriguing aspects. In most science textbooks, for example, only well-established facts are presented, and they are supported by equally well-know research studies. Textbooks don’t usually identify areas of inquiry where the questions have yet to be answered or the findings so far are controversial. And yet often, this is the content most likely to interest students. But can you expect beginning students to read original sources, like research studies? Could you expect them to answer test questions about those articles?

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Ask Your Students to Create Videos to Demonstrate Learning

It’s an almost unquestioned assumption that written assignments need to be used to assess student learning. While traditional writing assignments are appropriate for many types of assessments, there is no law requiring it for all assessments. I’ve had students construct Wikipedia entries, make Voicethreads, and build online games as assessments.

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Deadline Reminder: Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award

Have you authored a scholarly article? Or perhaps read one that is bookmarked, dog-eared, and referred to on a regular basis? If so, we want to hear about it!

The Teaching Professor and Magna Publications are seeking nominations for the Maryellen Weimer Scholarly Work on Teaching and Learning Award. Now in its fourth year, the award recognizes outstanding scholarly contributions that advance college-level teaching and learning practices. Author(s) of the winning article will be recognized at the 2012 Teaching Professor Conference, June 1-3, 2012 in Washington D.C. and awarded a $1,000 stipend.

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The Syllabus as a Classroom Management Tool

Complaints about incivility in the classroom are not new, but most faculty believe incivility is on the rise. Couple that with our litigious society, and it’s no wonder that one of the most important skills faculty need today is classroom management.

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Head in the Clouds? Ten Free Web 2.0 Tools to Support Faculty Research

Twenty-first Century research is increasingly becoming reliant on information and communication technologies to address systemic and distinct educational problems through greater communication, interaction, and inquiry. Research is an interactive inquiry process. In many instances this involves interaction with people. We also interact with technology and through technology to improve our educational practice. Practitioner research seeks to understand the underlying causes enabling personal and organizational change (Reason & Bradbury, 2001).

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Making the Review of Assigned Reading Meaningful

The typical college student dreads hearing, “Let’s review the chapters you read for homework.” What generally ensues is a question and answer drill in which students are peppered with questions designed to make clear who has and hasn’t done the reading. In reality, these exchanges do little to encourage deep thought or understanding of the assigned reading. They produce awkward silences during which students squirm in their seats, hoping to become invisible. Other times students decline to answer for fear of giving the wrong answer. Almost all the time a negative tone permeates the classroom during this review. I decided to restructure the way that I approached reviews of reading assignments, and found that by doing things differently, I could change both the tone and outcomes of the review activity. I’d like to share some of the ideas and techniques that I have found useful:

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Our Top 11 Most Popular Articles for 2011, part 2

It wouldn’t be the end of the year without a few top 10 lists, but this year we’re taking it one step further with the top 11 articles of 2011. Each article’s popularity ranking is based on a combination of the number of comments and shares, e-newsletter open and click-thru rates, and other reader engagement metrics.

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