Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Teaching and Learning

Good Teaching as Vulnerable Teaching

I was recently asked by a friend and colleague to review her syllabus. She wanted to make sure she had enough policies to address all the classroom issues that now emerge. Policies regarding plagiarism, class cancellation procedures, references to various official university handbook codes, and even mandated contingencies for an H1N1 virus outbreak were dutifully laid out. Indeed, the syllabus, despite some mention of the course itself, read far more like a legal document than an introduction and a guide to a classroom experience.

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Activities for Helping Students Learn One Another’s Name

In my early years as a college professor, I dutifully focused on learning student names as a way of building relationships. Students also got exposed to the names of other students in the class, but beyond introductions on the first night, it wasn’t the primary goal of my naming activities.

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Students and Attention: An Interesting Analysis

Most teachers daily confront the reality that student attention wanders in class. They can be seen nodding off, sleeping, gazing distractedly at some point other than the front of the room, texting, or working on something for another class. It’s a problem, and one that teachers often find hard not to take personally. Dealing with the emotional reaction engendered by inattention is easier when it’s more fully understood, and here’s an example that illustrates why.

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teacher feedback

Why Don’t Students Use Teacher Feedback to Improve?

Here’s the conclusion of a small but intriguing study. Its findings reveal “only limited support for the idea that students actually do respond to feedback and make changes in a subsequent piece of assessable work consistent with the intentions that underlay the provided feedback.” (p. 577)

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Nine Strategies to Spark Adult Students’ Intrinsic Motivation

Are you an instructor who struggles to change the mindset of your students? Do you find that the students’ first questions are about grades rather than the content of the course? Do you want your students to obtain good grades but realize that the grade is a result of a student who is engaged in the topic with passion, interest, and exuberance? It is this passion to learn that can be described as intrinsic motivation.

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Our Top 13 Teaching and Learning Articles of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, the editorial team at Faculty Focus looks back on some of the most popular articles of the past year. During the course of the year, we published more than 250 articles on a full range of topics of interest to today’s college educators.

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Start-Up Anxiety: Professor Shares His Fears as a New Semester Begins

It is 6:00 a.m., Tuesday, August 28. My first day of class is this Thursday. It’s the end of summer, and once again, I am nervous about teaching. I just woke up from a bad dream. I was standing in front of a new class, totally unprepared. I think I had my clothes on, but there was nothing—I mean nothing—in my head.

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Common Core State Standards: What Do They Have to Do with Higher Education?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have been adopted by 45 states in an effort to provide a consistent, clear understanding of what school age students are expected to learn. Although not with their critics, the standards are designed to be relevant to the real world, and to reflect the knowledge and skills that all students need for success in college and careers. For the last couple of years, local school districts have been diligently working to integrate these standards into all classrooms. The standards use powerful, higher level thinking verbs such as analyze, evaluate, assess, and interpret. Very little emphasis is placed on verbs such as list, describe, and identify. While contemplating these monumental changes at the K-12 level, we have been wondering about the implications of the adoption of the CCSS for higher education. This article will focus on what we believe are a few suggestions for ensuring that when K-12 students are “college and career” ready, we continue to uphold and promote the same kinds of higher level thinking and learning.

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Course Satisfaction for Adult Students

What course characteristics “satisfy” adult students? What expectations do they have for their courses? These questions are important because more and more adults now attend higher education, and many are participating in programs designed especially for them.

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Three Types of Assignments that Speed Feedback, Boost Student Engagement

We often wonder what we can do to help students engage with the material so they can learn it at a deeper level. Students don’t make that an easy task. They arrive in class having not read the material or having not thought about it in meaningful ways, and that keeps them from being engaged in class. Several years ago, I read George Kuh’s article “What Student Engagement Data Tell Us about College Readiness,” in which he writes, “Students who talk about substantive matters with faculty and peers are challenged to perform at high levels, and receive frequent feedback on their performance typically get better grades, are more satisfied with college, and are more likely to persist” (Peer Review, January 1, 2007, p. 4; italics mine). Here are three ways I try to provide feedback that engages students and not overwhelm myself with grading tasks in the process.

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