Engagement and Motivation

Share Your Bright Ideas About Teaching and Learning!

At the Cengage Learning Blog, we endeavor to bring you tips and information that speak to your needs and interests as an educator. But we also value hearing from you! Have you tried any of the activities or teaching tips we’ve presented on the blog? What topics would you like for us to address in the future? Have you observed any emerging trends in your discipline or field? What ideas would you like to share with your colleagues? We invite you to submit your suggestions to us in the comments. As always, thank you for reading and engaging with us! Read More…


The Importance of Being a Fire Starter, Not a Fire Hose

What lessons about the importance of student engagement did you learn early in your teaching career? What have you changed about the way you share knowledge with your students as a result? Please share your thoughts and teaching ideas with us in the comments section below. We’ve posted often about how important student engagement is to the learning process. Learning to engage students doesn’t come without some trial and error, however. Knowing all there is to know about a particular subject doesn’t necessarily mean that one will be equipped to confer that knowledge upon a group of Read More…


MISSION POSSIBLE: Promote Active Reading of Textbooks

Contributors: MAJ Josh Helms, former Assistant Professor of Mathematics, United States Military Academy at West Point and current analyst at the Center for Army Analysis; and Dr. Kimberly Turner Helms, US Army Comprehensive Soldier & Family Fitness, Directorate of Curriculum Lead for Educational Delivery & Learning Enhancement. MAJ and Dr. Helms were recently named Cengage Learning Developmental Studies “Innovative Educators of the Year.” Dr. Helms will be attending the 2013 Cengage Learning’s TeamUP  2013 Developmental Education Conference: The Challenge of Change   When MAJ Josh Helms started teaching an introductory mathematics course at West Point, he was surprised how many of his first-year Read More…


Social Networking: Think Before Posting—or Deleting

Social media and social networking can present great opportunities for both you and your students to engage and connect with each other and with the world around you. However, online interactions like these can also leave posters open to criticism. It’s important to consider how you’ll react to these situations. Do you delete the comment or post to avoid offending anyone? Do you take the opportunity, if appropriate, to start a meaningful dialogue around the subject? The activity below, from the instructor’s manual that accompanies Louis E. Boone and David L. Kurtz’s Contemporary Marketing, 16th Editioncan be used Read More…


Using Social Media Channels to Engage Learners

An interview with Donald Doane, CEO of ConnectYard.
Once upon a time, e-mail was the fastest and easiest means of facilitating asynchronous electronic communication, particularly when the message needed to reach a large group of people or required an attachment – a photo, a document, or a slide deck. Today, we have lots of channels available to us for posting and sending messages and files to individuals or large groups of people – whether through voice or written communications. Just think of your own personal and professional channels. If you are like most tech-savvy people today, you are Read More…


Using Text Messaging in Your Mobile Technology Learning Plan

Guest Contributor: Sandy Keeter, Seminole State College of Florida. You know that text messaging can be a distraction to students while they’re attending class. But can it can also be used as an effective means for you, as an instructor, to facilitate connections with them? Today, Sandy Keeter of Seminole State College describes how she is using a text-messaging service with the goal of increasing student retention and engagement with her course.  It all started two years ago, when our E-learning Department asked if anyone wanted to use texting in their classes. My first reaction was: absolutely not! I want students Read More…


Having an Experimental Attitude Toward Tech for Educational Purposes

Were you one of the first on campus to flip your course? Have you included a YouTube assignment on your syllabus since 2008? Were you using Twitter to communicate with classes and colleagues before some of your current students had even started high school? Whether your idea flies or flops, you may have found that taking the risk enabled you to discover discover new, dynamic, and effective ways of helping students learn. And furthermore, you’re not alone. According to author Roger Arnold, many instructors are adopting a more experimental attitude toward using technology or new models (such as the Read More…


Social Networking as a Solution, Not a Distraction

If you are thinking about using social media in your classroom, before you even set up an account, have a goal in mind. Successful and productive social media activity can be a solution to a problem. Do you want to have more connection with the students in your classes? Google+ could help you do that. Are you looking to get timely information specific to your course subject matter from relevant sources? Twitter could be a good option. Or are you just trying to get students more engaged in class by having them use visuals? Read More…


Digital Games to Engage Students in Learning

Guest Contributor: Dan Petrak, Des Moines Area Community College.
Though every course has different objectives and aims related to a particular field of study, all instructors desire that students become truly engaged in — and perhaps even engrossed in — their courses’ material. Today, Dan Petrak of Des Moines Area Community College shares how gaming has increased engagement and motivation in his developmental math courses.
Have you designed games for your classroom? What prompted you to do so? What outcomes did they help your students achieve? Share your input in the comments section.    What is a game? Just the word “game” Read More…


Fun and Learning for Students of Any Age

Games are not just for teaching our youngest learners important skills. In fact, they can be valuable tools for engaging students of any age in course content. In this video, authors Dan Petrak and Maria Andersen discuss how they developed math apps specifically with adult and young adult learners in mind. Based on their understanding of their students’ needs, they worked to create games that encourage persistence and engagement, deter boredom and frustration, and make practice fun in an age-appropriate manner.   Have you created or used a game to engage your students? What factors helped you determine its effectiveness or Read More…