Curriculum and Programs

Activity: Mnemonic Device: Acronym for Annotation

Today, we share Valerie Shay’s activity, which uses a mnemonic device that helps students remember a useful method of reading and studying a book or essay. Do you have a favorite classroom activity you’d like to share with our community? Share it in the comments! Contributor: Valerie Shay, Fayetteville Technical Community College. Use Mortimer Adler’s essay, “How to Mark up a Book,” as a learning tool. Explain to your students that UNCP no longer stands for the University of North Carolina at Pembroke; for the rest of their academic careers, it will now stand for Underline, Number, Circle, and Paraphrase.
Bonus Tip: Have a Read More…


Examining Long-Term Fiscal Challenges

In the video below, recorded during his keynote address from the 8th Annual Economics Teaching Conference, Harvard University Professor of Economics N. Gregory Mankiw illuminates the long-term fiscal challenges we face. In his forty-minute keynote presentation, entitled “The Fiscal Challenge Ahead,” Professor Mankiw discusses some of the long-term issues that economists will be thinking about over the coming years, and addresses the important question of how economists will meet those challenges. How do you teach your students about the fiscal challenges we face and the choices about how to address them? Share your comments below.  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H57N_k-u-k8?wmode=Opaque] N. Gregory Mankiw is Professor of Economics Read More…


Econ Educators Best in Class: Using Interactive Maps to Teach Economics

Below, we share a stellar teaching method from last year’s third-place winner in the Economist Educators Best in Class Teaching Award competition. For her winning entry, Becca Arnold, Professor of Economics at San Diego Mesa College, shared a teaching method she calls Visualizing the Economy: Using Interactive Maps to Teach Economics. In her contest entry, Becca explained how she reinforces economic concepts through the use of interactive maps. View her video below, and then visit the Economist Educators Best in Class Award Web site to learn more about this year’s contest and to link out to Read More…


Activity: Research in the Developmental Classroom: Focusing on the Discussion Section

Interested in bringing a discussion of research into your student success or developmental course? Try Dr. Christine Harrington’s activity, below.
1. Find a brief and meaningful article (such as the article below on the 3R reading technique) on a topic related to your course. McDaniel, M., Howard, D., & Einstein, G. (2009). The read-recite-review study strategy: Effective and portable. Psychological Science, 20(4), 516-522. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02325.x. 2. Provide students with an overview of the study, keeping it very basic. With the article example above, focus on how the researchers compared re-reading a passage, taking notes on a passage, and using the Read More…


Activity: Problem Solving with The Five Steps

Contributor: Laura Bracken, Lewis-Clark State College.  Laura Bracken writes: “There is much more to the art of teaching than just presenting examples from the textbook. It is a balancing act of tools, strategies, textbooks, and persistence to find the correct equation for student success.” Try this activity, based on the work of George Polya, to engage your students in their study of mathematics. Do you have unique suggestions for activities to use in the developmental mathematics classroom? Respond via the comments section below, or submit it to thinktank@cengage.com.
The Five Steps Understand the Problem
Make a Plan
Carry Out the Plan
Look Back
Final Read More…


Elements of Effective Online Instruction

What does it take to be an effective online instructor? What technical skills must you master? What technologies should you use? If you find yourself asking these questions (or ones much like them), you’ll benefit from the insights that Ken Baldauf shares during this presentation recorded during Cengage Learning’s recent 18th Annual Course Technology Conference. Here, Baldauf — who has helped many of his colleagues at Florida State University bring their courses online, and has also taught numerous successful online courses himself — discusses the elements of an effectively run online course. To frame the conversation, he begins with a brief retrospective of various online tools, Read More…


The Art of Teaching Problem Solving

Contributor: Laura Bracken, Lewis-Clark State College.  In my elementary algebra classes, we use a problem-solving organizer called The Five Steps that I developed based on the work of George Polya. Since this is an algebra class, I emphasize the use of equations to represent and solve problems. In one of my classes earlier this semester, my students practiced using more than one property of equality to solve a linear equation in one variable. We began to do the following problem together as a class. A trucker has fixed annual costs of $27,600. The average non-fixed costs are . If the Read More…


Should You Develop a Game for Your Course?

Do you want to take on the role of “game designer” for your course? Though it may seem fun (and it certainly can be an enjoyable process), the act of creating a game obviously involves much more work than playing one. As an associate professor and co-director of the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Lee Sheldon has a significant amount of experience in writing, designing, and developing games — as well as teaching others how to do so. In his book The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game, he poses several questions that can help you Read More…


Designing Games that Promote Learning



An interview with
Dave McCool, CEO, Muzzy Lane Software.
If you work with college-age students on a daily basis, you are probably aware that many of them love to play video games – online or downloaded onto local devices; alone or in groups; on computers, tablets, smartphones, and video gaming systems. The 2013 Horizon Report for Higher Education lists games and gamification as one of the top two higher education trends in the mid-term horizon, with widespread adoption expected to occur in approximately two to three years. In a 2003 research study conducted by the Read More…


Video Technology Advancements Facilitate New Education Models

An Interview with Kaltura Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer Shay David, PhD The topic of video usage is a key component of any conversation about new education models — whether the topic is MOOCs, course redesign, the flipped classroom, lecture capture, or simulations. Kaltura, based in New York City, held its first Education Video Summit a few months ago, entirely focused on the video needs of the education market. Jeanne Heston recently had an opportunity to interview Kaltura Co-Founder Shay David to learn more about his perspective on the changing role of video in education. Jeanne Read More…