Through our recent MindTap Best Practices contest, instructors across the country shared the creative and effective ways that they’ve used MindTap to spark student engagement and critical thinking in their courses. We enjoyed reading each response and appreciate all that they’ve done to create an engaging course experience for their students.

Below, we’ve listed the winners, along with their winning ideas. We congratulate each of them, and thank them for telling us how they “turn the light on” student engagement with MindTap.

MindTap Best Practices: Our winners share their top teaching tips

First Place: Timothy Smith, Professor of Administration of Justice Studies & Homeland Security, Arizona Western College

Timothy Smith, Arizona Western CollegeAs students progress through the modules, I have them look for current events on the subject(s) being discussed in the module then post a link to the article they found in ConnectYard. From there, classmates are encouraged to reply. My students are always looking for ways to increase their grades so I’ve informed them that I will increase the final grade of the top three students who have the most activity points in ConnectYard by one letter grade. If there is a tie, I use the student with the highest MindTap grade to break it. You will be amazed at how competitive they become for the ConnectYard activity points. Some students have more points than me. :-) When I make a post to the class, students are required to reply with a minimum 150 word response.

MindTap and ConnectYard allow me to test the students’ writing skills, practical application, and critical thinking using current events. Students seem to be more interested in things that are happening right now; with this combination, I’m able to keep their attention both in and out of class.

Second Place: Lesley Kauffman, Professor of History, San Jacinto College Central Campus

Lesley KauffmanAs a History professor, I teach in a discipline that is very content driven. Last semester I taught a hybrid class which forced me to select which material I would focus on in class. To ensure that the students understood the material that I could not cover, they were assigned two or three of the MindTap Assignments for each chapter. This showed which areas they struggled with, so that I was able to go back over that material in the class time. The remaining class time was used as guided group discussion. The students were also assigned the study plans for each chapter as a way for them to review the material. This allowed me to see if they had grasped the concepts after my explanations. My student’s scores were higher than those in fully face-to-face or fully online classes.

Second Place: Lisa Volle, Professor of Anthropology, Central Texas College

Lisa VolleI want students to be able to tie various cultural topics back to their readings. It is often a difficult skill to synthesize terms and topics into everyday practices. Having the videos or added websites interspersed in their readings, helps them to make quick connections. Occasionally, I will place a “funny” video that has layers of understanding. Multimedia with the course readings motivates students and the MindTap format is quick and easy to navigate. It’s understanding Culture at the tip of the fingers!



Have your own MindTap best practices or teaching tips to share? Submit them in the comments.