Curriculum and Programs

Course Redesign: Your First Steps

As an instructor in a constantly evolving educational setting, you can likely relate to the desire to find new ways to increase students’ attendance, engagement, and success—as well as such institutional challenges as the escalating costs associated with delivering instruction. In the face of these challenges, many institutions are choosing to re-evaluate how they structure and deliver some of their courses, with the hopes of providing greater consistency in how course material is delivered and graded, in addition to achieving improved student learning outcomes. They’re also considering how they can use educational technology not simply as an “add on” Read More…


Your Feedback & Experiences: Teaching Online

Today, the feedback we share focuses on readers’ experiences and best practices for teaching and learning online — a topic we address frequently on the blog. We hope you’ll gain insight from their ideas, and feel inspired to share your own best practices. Do you teach online? Would you like to discuss your thoughts or experiences? Add your comments below, or send them to thinktank@cengage.com.   I’ve migrated two F2F [face-to-face] classes to the online format, and I’m in the process of creating another. My basic philosophy is that students should not have MORE work to do in an online Read More…


Econ Educators Best in Class: The Currency of Civic Engagement

Can you imagine that economics students can become so enthusiastic about doing community service work and at the same time being so excited to learn about how a real world economy operates?— Fadhel Kaboub, Assistant Professor of Economics at Denison University and 2012 Economist Educators Best in Class Teaching Award second-place winner. Today, we revisit a winning teaching technique submitted by last year’s second-place winner in the Economist Educators Best in Class Teaching Award competition. In his contest entry, Fadhel Kaboub, Assistant Professor of Economics at Denison University, shares his experience engaging students in learning economic principles while taking part Read More…


Higher-Quality Written Assignments: The Role of Artificial Intelligence

An Interview with Erin Joyner, VP and General Manager, and Jason Fremder, Senior Product Manager, Cengage Learning. It has long been recognized by educators and employers that good written communication skills play a critical role in academic and career success. Eleven years ago, the College Board founded the National Commission on Writing to focus national attention on the importance of good writing skills and to help increase funding for programs that help students and job-seekers build their skills. Several years ago, Erin Joyner realized that Cengage Learning needed to provide a technology-based solution to instructors who wanted to increase their students’ opportunities to practice Read More…


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…