Author: Tami Strang

Channeling Technology Distractions with Clicker Activities

Technology, specifically smartphones, can be distractions in the classroom. However, if used correctly instructors can take advantage of technology to engage students and further the learning process. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers (2011, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning), authors Svinicki and McKeachie outline tips and tricks for instructors leveraging clickers in the classroom. Clickers, or student response systems, are commonly utilized to promote active learning by enabling a large number of students to send their responses to poll questions posed by their instructor. There are even Web-based response systems that you can Read More…


The Underprepared Student

Not all students are created equally. Many come into a course with the appropriate background knowledge to succeed, but some students come in unprepared. Maybe they aren’t equipped with the required prerequisites or perhaps in a previous course they did not apply themselves to reach their full potential. Whatever the case may be, instructors can find ways to facilitate success with underprepared students. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers (2011, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning), authors Svinicki and McKeachie suggest several ways to help get the underprepared student ready for class.

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Making the Grade in Group Presentations

Group presentations are often necessary in the classroom and in the workplace — working as an effective member of a team is a skill that can be essential in work and life. To be successful, all members must work as a team to deliver a consistent and memorable presentation to the audience. In Becoming a Master Student, author Dave Ellis outlines three key strategies that anyone working with a group can follow as a path toward successful group presentations. Read on for your own benefit, share with your students, or both! Get Organized. Once you have your task, appoint Read More…


Peer Learning: Make a Visit to the “Post Office”

Have you ever struggled to find a solution to a seemingly simple problem… only to discover, weeks later, that your next-door neighbor or the colleague down the hall had the answer all along? Through these experiences, we often discover that the people right around us can be our best resources. However, for fear of embarrassment, students may feel uncomfortable seeking information about their courses or the campus from their peers. The good news: You, as an instructor, can open their eyes to the benefits of overcoming initial shyness and asking a classmate for some help. Download Constance Staley’s enjoyable Read More…


Building Community Online: The Voice of Experience

Teaching a course online presents its own unique challenges when it comes to building a sense of community and connecting with your students. Listen as Dr. Clayton Austin, Senior Consultant with TeamUP Faculty Programs, interviews Dr. Chris Gilmer about building community online. Chris shares his advice, discusses some of the challenges you may face when teaching online, and outlines some keys to success in this environment.
 
Access the podcast to learn more!
 
This podcast comes from the TeamUP Professional Development Portal, and makes up a small part of one of the self-paced multimedia Read More…


Maintaining Student Involvement in the Large Classroom

Many who work in education today are being tasked with doing more with less. This can reach to the classroom and result in larger sections as more students are allowed to enroll in each. Large classes are also nothing new for many first- or second-year survey or pre-major courses. No matter the reason for the larger class size, students may exhibit a tendency to hold back their responses — or their attention — in a large lecture hall. Thus, to combat a tendency towards passivity among students, it’s vital to have a strategy for keeping them actively engaged during Read More…


Five Habits of a Critical Thinker

Critical thinking skills don’t just “happen.” Just like brushing your teeth, those skills need to be practiced on a regular basis before they can become a more natural part of your learning processes. In her book FOCUS on College Success, Constance Staley offers students five tips for honing their critical-thinking skills. Encourage your students to reflect on these points, and they will reap the benefits! If you don’t know something, admit it.Then, endeavor to learn more.
Acknowledge your “hot buttons.”It’s normal to have strong feelings about particular issues. When you know which issues those are, you can make a Read More…


Ten Strategies for Improving Thinking Quality

Ideally, students’ progress through a degree program will build and inspire progress in their conceptual and cognitive development. As an instructor, you likely have a goal of helping students along this trajectory via the activities you design for your class. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, contributor Jane S. Halonen offers 10 useful strategies for helping students refine their thinking skills — and helping you reach your course goals. While you likely have many strategies of your own, you may benefit from the suggestions she makes, which we’ve summarized below: Make an explicit statement in your syllabus regarding your goal of helping Read More…


Critical Thinking – Critical Searching

Conducting an Internet search is certainly a quick way to find information — but once that search is done, it’s imperative to evaluate the trustworthiness of the results.
Even if you don’t have an extensive amount of time to devote to instruction on research skills or information literacy, there are some ways you can begin to provide students with the skills they need to distinguish accurate, authoritative material from that of a less trustworthy nature. For one such method, download an exercise from Constance Staley’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lectern, designed to help Read More…


Trends in Student Thinking: Course Decisions

We’ve discussed critical thinking as a goal for students in coursework, but what about thinking critically about the courses they’re choosing in the first place? Do you ever wonder what motivates students as they choose to take their courses? Does it just fit in their schedule, or did they choose a course they thought they’d enjoy? Cengage Learning’s 4LTR Press team recently conducted a survey among students, asking them to rate the importance of certain considerations when selecting their classes.Download the results to get a glimpse into what students are thinking about as they enroll.