Curriculum and Programs

The Fiscal Cliff

Though it’s been in the news for some time, tensions continue to grow as we get nearer to the fiscal cliff looming at the end of this year and Congress has still not reached a compromise. What is the fiscal cliff, how did we get here, what provisions are involved, and what’s important to note if you’re teaching about it? Prior to the election, Bill Raabe, taxation professor at Ohio State University and author on the South-Western Federal Taxation series and Federal Tax Research text, recorded a podcast about the fiscal cliff, what it means, Read More…


The Seven Attributes of Modern LMS Content Integration

The latest generation of homework solutions and other course content from publishers is more flexible and tightly integrated with the Learning Management System (LMS) environment than ever before, thanks to the IMS Global Consortium’s LTI standard — and the efforts of publishers and LMS vendors to extend the standard. A new whitepaper, The New Rules of LMS Content Integration, explores this topic in detail. Here is an excerpt from the paper — a list of what to look for when reviewing offerings from publishers and LMS vendors:

    Single sign-on: Instructors and class participants should not be required
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Optimizing Learning Activities for Student-Centered Learning

As you approach the beginning of a new year, and likely the start of a new term, we’d like to revisit an article from an early edition of the Cengage Learning eNewsletter that addresses some best practices that you can keep in mind as you think about creating student-centered activities. Do you have a “success story” about how you have re-shaped assignments so that they are more student centered? Share it in the comments section below! Guest Contributor Jason Lancaster, M.Ed. Regardless of the model you use, designing a meaningful educational program requires careful analysis, thoughtful development, and thorough assessment. Here, Read More…


Your Teaching Ideas

As an educator, no matter your teaching environment, you’re constantly looking for new ideas for engaging your students and keeping them motivated to learn. We admire this trait, and we’re also inspired by the ideas you’ve shared with us. In this spirit, we’re pleased to share some of those ideas with our readership. See below for ideas on keeping students — and yourselves! — engaged with, and energized for, the educational process. Do you have any teaching ideas you’d like to share with the community? Respond in the Comments section below! ***** Most of today’s students prefer hands-on learning in the classroom. Therefore, Read More…


Designing a Framework for Critical Thinking

A, well, critical part of ensuring that students reach a higher level of understanding is by promoting critical thinking in your course. By challenging students to tap into higher-order thinking skills, you’re not only working to help them fully understand a topic or an idea, you’re training them to think critically about the world around them. It’s with this in mind that we’re revisiting the article below, written by Cengage Learning Instructional Designer Jason Lancaster, that provides some tips for you to remember when designing with critical thinking in mind. Following Jason’s article, check out five tips from Connie Read More…


Assignments in the Online Course: How Much is Too Much?

Guest Contributor: Robert Onorato. Given the seemingly unlimited, media-rich learning opportunities you can offer in an asynchronous online course, it may be tempting to craft a reading or resource list as extensive as your own time allows. But at what point will students reach the saturation point? In this article, Robert Onorato, instructor at Fordham University (NY) and a Senior Faculty Programs Consultant for Cengage Learning’s TeamUP, shares the experiences that have led him to his own conclusions regarding the answer to the question: “How much is too much?” I have been teaching college courses for twenty years and I Read More…


Designing Effective Group Assignments

Certainly, you could choose any number of ways to assign groups for group assignment: pull names out of a hat; have students select teammates; go by last name (a.k.a. the “potluck” method — all students A-L are in Group 1, M-S in Group 2, etc.). You could even have students count off in class to determine their group number. However, if you want to encourage maximum participation, collaboration, and achievement for a significant group assignment, you may opt for a method that increases the likelihood of student success and satisfaction. Though not an exact science, there are certainly steps you Read More…


Four Tips: Creating Prompts for Online Discussion Boards

Particularly for online courses, using discussion boards can be an effective way to encourage group or team interaction. You can encourage peer-to-peer interaction as students react or respond to a prompt and then interact with one another based on those responses, or assign a prompt for each student to read and respond to that you can evaluate personally. No matter the goal of your discussion board activity, you likely want to ensure that students’ responses are thoughtful, complete, and insightful. Read on for tips, courtesy of the TeamUP Professional Development Portal, that you can keep in mind as Read More…


Using Video in Your Courses

Video is fast becoming a popular way to reach learners in new ways. Whether providing recorded lectures to students taking online courses, or using them to get students further before they attend a lab session, video provides another avenue to engaging students. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College and University Teachers, contributors Erping Zhu and Matthew Kaplan write that video can be used as a way to catalog your course lectures, demonstrate a concept to students, and reach online learners. Allowing students to access information asynchronously gives them the opportunity to revisit concepts when they Read More…


The Value of Information Literacy Instruction

The term “information literacy” may not be familiar to your students. However, information literacy skills — such as the ability to locate and access information, critically evaluate it, and then organize and present the information effectively — are certainly relevant to students’ education, and to their lives going forward. In your courses, you may help students acquire these skills through assignments and activities, or via instructional sessions in the library. You likely also emphasize the importance of proper grammar, style, and presentation, pay attention to the logic and clarity of students’ arguments, and reinforce the seriousness of plagiarism. By Read More…