Guest Contributor: Jennifer Schneider, University of North Georgia.

How can we encourage students in a positive manner to come to class prepared? I have been struggling with this question since I began my career in education. After committing to research on teaching unprepared students, I feel like I have come up with a few strategies that have been working in my class.

The most effective strategy I have implemented is the use of prerequisites. I teach highly quantitative courses where repetition is the key to understanding course concepts. Therefore, I require students to complete a series of practice exercises prior to the class where I introduce the topic. Practice exercises can be used in many disciplines, however, in Accounting, they are especially important as a key to the basic understanding of difficult curriculum.

In my Accounting courses, I use CengageNOWv2, a digital solution to deliver this content to my students. Using CengageNOWv2, I can select content to regenerate algorithmically on each take for each student. I create a practice exercise assignment for each chapter in the course curriculum. The due dates are then set at 11pm on the night preceding the chapter presentation in class. It would be wonderful if all my students read the chapter before arriving in the classroom. However, I accept that this is not always the case.

By requiring the students to complete basic computations for each learning objective, they are more aware of chapter vocabulary as well as fundamental concepts.

Now they are more prepared to discuss not only what they have learned on their own, they can better articulate concepts they are struggling with.

CengageNOWv2 helps me move in the direction of keeping the students accountable for their own learning. From my perspective, when students are more accountable (to themselves and me), they are more confident in their ability to master Accounting. Then they are on their way to success in the class.


Want to learn more about teaching unprepared students?  Join me on November 10 at 2 PM Eastern for “Flipping the Classroom with CengageNOWv2”. Register for the webinar today!


What are your strategies for increasing student preparedness? Did you gather any great ideas from Jennifer’s webinar? Please tell us in the comments!