Author: Alana Joli Abbott

Re-Energize Your Online Discussions Mid-Semester

One of the biggest challenges in e-learning is keeping up motivation throughout the course. For many college students, enthusiasm for classes may wane mid-semester; online students, who lack the face to face feedback to reinforce their motivation, may experience this even more strongly than their on-campus peers. To re-energize your online discussion, think about the kinds of discussion questions that will not only engage your students in the course material, but also help them relate and apply the material beyond the classroom.

Motivation and instructors

“Your instructors will typically be an excellent source of motivation,” Ryan Watkins and Michael Corry advised Read More…


Providing Constructive Feedback to Student Research Papers

As students turn in their first essays and research papers for the spring semester, it can be challenging to provide the type of feedback that will most help your students improve throughout the course. While college students are shown to value individualized comments on student essays, finding the balance of how to provide feedback without overwhelming or exasperating is difficult. Consider these tips for providing constructive feedback that will improve their writing over the course of the semester—making your job of evaluating their writing that much easier when it comes time for finals.

Goals for written feedback comments

In Read More…


Confidently Master New Technical Tools for Your Classroom

Modern college students are digital natives—they’ve always lived in a world surrounded by user-friendly, handheld technology, and information at their fingertips. More and more, such students expect their professors to be teaching with technology, creating a college classroom where technical tools are infrequent and easy use. But if you’re not used to integrating technology into your teaching methods, incorporating new tools can seem like a big challenge. When do you have time to learn the new tools adequately in order to seamlessly add them to your teaching strategies? And how do you prioritize them? These questions can be Read More…


Motivating College Students: Women in STEM

According to a 2012 White House report, the United States is on track to face a huge deficit of qualified STEM workers by the 2020s. One of the ways to mitigate that deficit is encouraging a traditionally underrepresented group—women—to pursue careers in STEM fields. Given the studies on gender biases that face women pursuing those careers, however, it may be difficult motivating students toward goals where they will face additional challenges. Mentoring college students is particularly important when recruiting women into STEM fields and majors, and providing adequate opportunities to explore (and make mistakes) is key to encouraging Read More…


Encourage Your College Students to Use the Library’s Electronic Resources

Modern college students are used to information being available at their fingertips. So how do you persuade them that the best way to search isn’t to only use Google, but to also check out all the electronic resources available from the college library? In addition to the expert advice available from reference librarians, library resources at your college likely include a number of online resources and e-journal titles, often hosted in a database like Questia. Get familiar with the electronic resources offered to your students, and help them learn how to incorporate those resources into their Read More…


How to Teach Critical Thinking Skills to College Students

There are entire courses on critical thinking, helping college students learn to go beyond common sense and deeply consider the implications of an idea through the application of logic and reason. But teaching critical thinking skills can be important to any class, and asking students to apply those skills can help them gain a deeper understanding of the course material. In addition to the excellent textbooks that flesh out the application of logic and statistics to teaching critical thinking, here are some concrete examples of critical thinking exercises you can use in your courses.

Why teaching critical thinking is

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Top 5 Time Management Tips for Your College Students

Time management is self-reported as one of the largest challenges facing college students, particularly during their freshman year. Why is building good time management skills such a struggle for many students? What hurdles make it difficult to overcome? By taking a look at some of the reasons students struggle in building a concrete skill set to help them manage their time, you can gain a firmer perspective on how to help them gain those skills—and achieve academic success.

College students and work

In Taking Charge of Your Career Direction: Career Planning Guide, Book 1, 5th edition, Robert D. Lock Read More…


Motivate your College Students to Use the Library

Some of your college students are already frequent library users, having mastered the art of locating their resources for a research paper, or finding a quiet place to study. But for those students who haven’t stepped through the doors of the college library just yet, how can you motivate them to make use of that vital resource? You can try to persuade them with evidence, offer tips that will help them succeed, or assign a task that requires library use at the beginning of the new semester. By establishing that you expect students to visit the college library early Read More…


Quick Tips for Staying Active Over Winter Break

Staying active over winter break isn’t just for college students—these healthy tips are great for undergrads, teaching assistants, and profs alike. If you’re having trouble finding ways to stay active, especially after the holidays, consider trying out at least one of these ideas to keep your body moving between semesters.

Healthy tips

Oregon State University’s Recreation and Sports department website gives examples of ways to stay active in the article, “8 Healthy Tips for Winter Break.” Here are a few ideas the contributors recommended:
    At home workouts, use body weight. You can do tricep pushups from your couch—and if you’re
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How to Evaluate Learning Outcomes

When you’re creating a course, how do you determine the goals for your college students to reach by the end of the semester? Creating learning outcomes gives you a tool by which to tailor your student assessment, measuring their aptitude against the initial purpose of the course. Writing student learning outcomes can be a challenge, and there are several different ways to look at this tool. Consider some of these ideas as you evaluate your students’ learning.

Assessment and learning outcomes

Assessment of college student academic performance can be easily summed up as you determine if your students have learned Read More…