Do you sometimes (maybe regularly) get papers from students filled with spelling, punctuation, proofreading, and other more serious grammatical problems? Yours is not an English class and you have other content to teach, making it difficult to address these writing problems. And yet leaving them unaddressed puts students in jeopardy. They may not believe us, but the fact is we still live in a culture that “sorts out” people based on their use of language and a student who can’t put together an error-free résumé or cover letter isn’t likely to get many interviews or good jobs.
College course work is meant to be challenging. The content and the vocabulary used are often unfamiliar to many students. For at-risk learners, the challenges are even greater. In some cases, these students have physical or learning disabilities that create accessibility issues, other times the challenges may be the result of the fact that they’re an international student, have anxiety issues, or a strong learning style preference that runs counter to the instructor’s style.
Quizzes are standard in many college classrooms, and determining how to best use this learning format generates a variety of discussion and suggestions. I, too, continue to search for ways to inspire the often dull quiz routine. In an effort to bring new strategies to the classroom and keep student engagement high, I have recently discovered a successful strategy that encourages a sense of community in class, offers students an opportunity to engage in collaborative learning, and motivates students to come to class prepared. Let me explain how it works.
With the number of non-traditional students growing, many educators have discovered that adult learners are fundamentally different than their younger counterparts in many ways. Yet, most instructors have been left to their own devices to figure out how best to reach these students who come to class with an entirely different set of challenges, demands and expectations, and generally at a much different level of maturity.
One of the main mechanisms for faculty development at Century College is the idea of teaching circles, in which five to eight faculty members work with a trained faculty facilitator to design and implement a project related to a topic chosen by the group at its initial meeting.
Most universities require tenure-track faculty members to achieve in three particular domains – teaching, service, and scholarship. Scholarship provokes the most anxiety. Faculty members quickly succumb to the publish or perish syndrome; a syndrome depicted by obsessive thoughts about scholarship expectations, a frenzy to publish, restless nights, and a plethora of excuses. The antidotes cleverly identified in this article are designed to treat the publish or perish syndrome.
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.
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?
One of the most frequently asked questions from veteran and novice online faculty alike is, “How many weekly discussion posts should I contribute?” The reality is that there is an intricate balancing act to achieve the coveted “guide on the side” role in discussion forum facilitation.
It’s thrilling when I, as an educator, witness a student’s transformation from a limiting perspective to one that is broader, more inclusive, and most times