Author: Heather Mooney

Helping Students Prepare for Online Courses

In some ways, having someone set a schedule for us makes our lives somewhat easier, doesn’t it? When we’re young, our parents and teachers schedule our time for us, but as we get older, we gradually become more responsible for making our own good decisions for how to manage our time. Online learning can present challenges to some students in that it doesn’t come with the same type of structure an on-ground course would. You aren’t typically expected to be in a physical location for a predetermined period of time to take part in learning online. In Plugged Read More…


Tips for Students: Exploring a Research Topic

What advice do you share with your students when assigning a research paper or project? Share your thoughts on helping learners focus on a topic of research in the comments section below. So you’ve been assigned a research paper, and you have a pretty good idea of what you’d like to write about (or maybe not quite yet). What’s next? Rather than just diving in and committing to writing about a topic, Susan Miller-Cochran and Rochelle Rodrigo, authors of The Wadsworth Guide to Research, recommend that you take some time to explore it more fully to ensure that Read More…


Rhetorically Evaluating Sources

We want to hear from you. What do you tell students about evaluating sources for research projects or papers? Share your tips, the advice that you share with your classes, or guidelines that you lay out for students, in the comments section below. Do you find that your students encounter challenges thinking critically about which sources to choose as they research and write because they have so much information available at their fingertips? With the rise of Wikipedia and discussion boards available on just about any topic you can think of, how can you steer learners in the right Read More…


Helping Students Master Challenging Concepts

Guest Contributor: Melisa “Joey” Bryant, Forsyth Technical Community College. In today’s post, Melisa “Joey” Bryant, program coordinator in the Thomas H. Davis iTEC Center at Forsyth Technical Community College, discusses how getting students involved with teaching your class can enable them to tackle challenging concepts and better understand tough material. How do you help your learners conquer difficult topics in your courses? Share your ideas and teaching tips in the comments section below. One of the most frustrating experiences as a student is going into a class and feeling like you are the only one who doesn’t understand what the teacher is saying. Read More…


Helping Learners Conquer Test Anxiety

Taking assessments in the form of tests or exams throughout the term can seem an obviously expected part of the learning process, but it is possible that you’ll encounter learners who struggle with test anxiety. These learners, no matter how well they know the concepts or material covered, may find themselves drawing a blank when they sit down with an exam in front of them. If you so choose, there are options for you to employ to help students cope with their test anxiety. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers, Read More…


What is Digital Literacy and Why is it Important?

Whether or not you had a chance to register for the Cengage Learning Course Technology Conference in March before it sold out, you still have opportunities to hear from some of the event’s speakers. This week, we’re sharing content from some of the conference presenters that can apply to anyone seeking to equip their learners with the skills they’ll need to be successful in the workplace.
In this video, Beverly Amer discusses what digital literacy means, and why it’s important to today’s learners and tomorrow’s employees. She talks about how we can use technology to support what Read More…


Fostering Students’ Persistence

In this video, Laura Bracken discusses the importance of retention and persistence in higher education, and the correlations between learner success in developmental math and persisting to complete a degree or certificate program. Though Laura’s discussion is related particularly to her teaching focus, developmental math, her ideas on persistence and its correlation to later success can be more broadly applicable in higher education. Listen as she talks about making a difference in students’ persistence at the classroom level. How do you involve learners in the learning process? Have you noticed that “addressing the whole student,” as Laura mentions, makes Read More…


Retention Strategies: Tackling Common Challenges

Guest Contributor Sande Johnson, Developmental Studies and College Success Specialist, Academic Services, Cengage Learning. About this time in the term, students start to drop various courses. It may be due to loss of interest or it may be because the material is beyond their ability. What can you do to stimulate interest and keep your students actively engaged in your course? Like our esteemed faculty in higher education, the Academic Services Consulting Group at Cengage Learning often has to address these very issues when launching into course development. We reach out to our instructional designers, editorial, and marketing partners who Read More…


Preventing and Addressing Classroom Disruptions

Being an instructor is an exciting but often challenging position that carries with it an array of responsibilities. Not only are you responsible for classroom learning, but you must also operate as a leader in the classroom by fostering a professional atmosphere of respect and community-based sharing. Even without reading the article, you can probably think of how you might deal with situations of student incivility. In fact, to be a successful instructor today, this is exactly what you need to do. It is not advisable to wait for these incidents to pop up; planning ahead is one way to Read More…


Promoting Student Civility: Online and Offline

Student civility may seem like a common-sense issue for students to work out on their own, but encouraging professionalism with simple rules for respect and consideration for student interactions online and offline can go a long way toward fostering an environment conducive to learner engagement. Here, we offer tips to keeping your students’ online or on-ground class interactions respectful and professional from Dave Ellis’ , and from Ryan Watkins and Michael Corry’s E-Learning Companion: A Guide to Online Success, Fourth Edition. In on-ground classes, set some ground rules up front for students to agree to adhere to in Read More…