Achievement and outcomes

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…


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…


Mind Your GPA! Goals, Plans, and Actions

It’s hard not to remain conscious of your grade point average; it is a tangible measure of success. But no matter if you’re a student enrolled in college courses or you’re matriculated in the school of life, it’s important to think beyond simple numbers and develop a more holistic, and longer lasting, measure of achievement. That’s why Walter Pauk and Ross J. Q. Owens recommend striving for success by following a different kind of “GPA”: your goal, your plan, and the action you take.

    Your Goal: Have a clear idea for where you’re headed. These can include minor goals, such as completing a project before Friday evening,
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Preparing for an Accreditation Visit

Guest Contributors:
Charles Zastrow, MSW PhD, LCSW
Karen K. Kirst-Ashman, BSW, MSW, Ph.D., LCSW
Janice A. Stoudemire, CPA, ABA, ATA
When properly administered, accreditation ensures that your department or institution maintains the performance measures and academic standards established by your association or governing body. However, the process of obtaining accreditation, which may include the accreditation visit, can cause anxiety and a sense of trepidation, even for the most organized and diligent among us. Though it may be impossible to completely eliminate all vestiges of nervousness, it is certainly possible to mitigate those feelings. Below, Cengage Learning authors Charles Zastrow and Read More…


Five Ways to Brand Yourself

They say first impressions are everything. How we present ourselves to the world makes a key difference when it comes to winning a job. Having a strong, personal brand that shows the world who you are as a professional affects what others think and feel about you. In Active Interviewing: Branding, Selling, and Presenting Yourself to Win Your Next Job, Eric Kramer shares how job seekers can brand themselves to stand out on the road to professional success. Share these tips with your students: Decide what your professional brand is.  Complete a self-assessment and consider things like what Read More…


Four Steps to a Stellar Presentation

At some point, most of us will give a presentation to an audience. In her book New Perspectives: Portfolio Projects for Soft Skills, Beverly Amer offers a four-step approach to creating and delivering an effective presentation. Whether you’re in charge of providing first-timers with needed advice, or your own skills need some polishing, these simple steps will help alleviate anxiety and ensure a smooth performance. Step 1: Plan. Several key questions will help you develop a strong presentation that’s tailor made for your audience and purposes. As you begin, ask yourself:

    What is the purpose of your presentation? What action or response
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Soft Skills in the Digital Workplace – Importance of the Online Persona

There have always been—and will always be—certain soft skills, like interviewing, that people will need to master in the professional world. But, with a changing workplace come new requirements that future professionals need to keep in mind. Like it or not (and if you’re reading this I hope you do!) we are living in a digital age, and with having an online presence comes certain worries for a professional or someone looking to start their career. Social networks play a role in a working professional’s life, and there is a certain level of privacy lost by displaying personal information Read More…


Creating a “Lecture Map” that Facilitates Active Listening

A lecture may be crafted with consistency and clarity, but sometimes an audience—especially one unfamiliar with your topic—needs some help to follow your train of thought. In Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lectern, Constance Staley offers some suggestions for building a helpful “lecture map” that orients listeners to your message’s key concepts. Download a helpful active-listening activitythat will hlep students build these skills. Reference: Content adapted from Staley, Constance. 2003. Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lectern. Belmont: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Do you have additional thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on this topic? Please share your comments below.     Read More…