Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Teaching and Learning

Creating More Effective Course Handouts

For most of us, handouts are a staple of instructional life, but as Teresa Sakraida and Peter Draus (reference below) point out, their “development is often a trial-and-error process.” (p. 326) Like so many other aspects of instruction, we take the construction of handouts for granted, their creation guided largely by intuition.

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Survey of College Faculty Reveals Increases in Student-Centered Teaching and Evaluation Methods

Helping students develop critical-thinking skills and discipline-specific knowledge remain at the forefront of faculty goals for undergraduate education, with 99.6 percent of faculty indicating that critical-thinking skills are “very important” or “essential” and 95.1 percent saying the same of discipline-specific knowledge. Other top goals include helping students to evaluate the quality and reliability of information (97.2 percent) and promoting the ability to write more effectively (96.4 percent).

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Understanding Learning Styles Research and Instruments

Research on learning styles now spans four decades and occurs across a wide spectrum of disciplines, including many quite removed from psychology, the disciplinary home of many of the central concepts and theories that ground notions of learning style.

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The ECHO Model of Experiential Learning

As educators we hear and heed Peter McLaren’s warning, “You can’t teach people anything … You have to create a context in which they can analyze themselves and their social formations and lives.” 1 We believe the creation of this context must be our aim as educators, and this context must be balanced between theory and practice. In our pursuit to strike this balance, we believe that experiential education has the potential to assist our fellow educators in transforming their pedagogical practices to more deeply engage their students and improve learning outcomes.

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Large Courses and Student Expectations

Have you tried implementing some active learning strategies in a large course only to find students resisting those efforts? You put students in groups and give them some challenging discussion questions, only to see most of them sitting silently while a few make feeble comments to which no one in the group responds.

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Transformative Learning: Q&A with Patricia Cranton

Transformative learning—learning that changes what students know, how much they know, and what they are able to do with that knowledge—can occur inside and outside the classroom and need not be restricted to any particular discipline.

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Rethinking Multiple Choice Tests for Assessing Student Learning

If you think multiple choice tests are only good to assess how well students memorized facts, it may be time to rethink your testing strategy. Although they are not appropriate for every situation, when properly developed, multiple choice tests can used to assess higher levels of thinking, including application and analysis.

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