Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Teaching and Learning

Failure is an Option: Helping Students Learn from Mistakes

Failure is one of the best teachers. Most of what I learned about home maintenance I learned from my mistakes. The military understands the benefits of failure and actually gives soldiers tasks that they know will lead to failure at some point as a part of their training. Similarly, pilots are trained on simulators and given a variety of emergency situations until they fail.

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Critical Reflection Adds Depth and Breadth to Student Learning

More and more colleges and universities are developing general education curricula that include courses involving critical reflection, including how the various disciplines address some of the big questions facing today’s society. But be warned, critical reflection is not for the faint of heart.

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Questioning Skills to Engage Students

Questioning skills are essential to good teaching. Teachers often use questions to ensure that students are attentive and engaged, and to assess students’ understanding. What is important to note is that in addition to the intent of the question, the question itself matters. For instance, to ensure that students are attentive, a teacher could ask the students “Are you listening?” To assess if the students have understood, the teacher could ask “Do you follow me?”

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To Increase Learner Achievement Serve Feedback Sandwiches

Constructive instructor feedback is essential for a students’ cognitive growth, and it is essential that constructive feedback be presented in a positive and encouraging manner. An appropriate technique, known to the authors as the sandwich approach, encourages learners while providing honest, open and direct critique. Online instructors, in particular, should serve virtual sandwiches to increase motivation and to bolster the achievement of their students. In its most rudimentary sense the virtual sandwich has three layers a top slice, the filling, and the bottom slice.

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What Can Be Done to Boost Academic Rigor?

When it comes to college students and studying, the general rule most first-year students hear goes something like this. “For every one credit hour in which you enroll, you will spend approximately two to three hours outside of class studying and working on assignments for the course.” For a full-time student carrying 12 credits that equals at least 24 hours of studying per week.

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Time Management Strategies for Student Writers

Is it me or do students often seem surprised by just how long the writing process takes? When I first started teaching, I never thought to address the issue of time management with my students. Over the course of my next several classes, however, I started to notice a pattern in students’ comments, such as: The work in this class is really, really time consuming; I’ve never spent this much time writing before; and I didn’t realize it would take SO much time but I am really happy with the end results.

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Learning through Teaching

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth learning can be taught.” — Oscar Wilde

Russell L. Ackoff tells a wonderful story in the podcast for the book he wrote with Daniel Greenberg “Turning Learning Right Side Up:”

After lecturing to undergraduates at a major university, I was accosted by a student who had attended the lecture. After some complimentary remarks, he asked, “How long ago did you teach your first class?”

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student engagement

10 Benefits of Getting Students to Participate in Classroom Discussions

Participation is one of those workhorse instructional strategies—easy to use, straightforward, expected, and often quite successful at accomplishing a number of learning goals. It’s good to remind ourselves of its many different uses, especially on those days when getting students to participate feels like pulling hens’ teeth.

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Remedial Coursework: Predicting Student Success

Many students come to college without the knowledge and skills needed to successfully complete college coursework. But does taking remedial courses in math and English (where the bulk of the courses are offered) make a difference? Do those courses develop the knowledge and skills students need to successfully complete regular college courses?

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Concept Maps Help Build Connections to Learning

About eight years ago, students taking Alice Cassidy’s Biology 345 course were asked to create a learning portfolio as their final project for the course. The portfolio was intended to help students demonstrate their learning in creative ways that include examples, connections and reflections, based on three key criteria: content, links and visual diversity. Two pages of the eight-page portfolio had to be a concept map.

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