developmental studies

Inspiring a Reading Mindshift

Contributor: Valerie Shay, Fayetteville Technical Community College. Many students at Fayetteville Technical Community College are juggling life, work and education. As an instructor with a strong background in teaching at-risk youth, migrant children, and Spanish-speaking only students, it was important for me to modify my teaching strategies to fit the needs of the adult learners at the institution. Students are plagued with serious holes in understanding derived from poor secondary schooling, and many are desperate to fill the gaps with the knowledge they are lacking. However, families, bills, and personal issues swarm and encase them creating an endless struggle between 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…


Incorporating Research into a Student Success Course

My teaching approach stems from my belief in my students and their ability to achieve at high levels if given the right amount of support. I bring research on student success and memory, and extensive modeling and support into my student success classes. I use actual peer reviewed research studies in my student success course as the foundation for our conversations on student success strategies. This increases the credibility of the course for both students and the campus. Even students who have taken a class on “study skills” will quickly discover that this course is different. The inclusion of 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 [email protected].
The Five Steps Understand the Problem
Make a Plan
Carry Out the Plan
Look Back
Final Read More…


The Art of Teaching Problem Solving

Contributor: Laura Bracken, Lewis-Clark State College.  In my elementary algebra classes, we use a problem-solving organizer called The Five Steps that I developed based on the work of George Polya. Since this is an algebra class, I emphasize the use of equations to represent and solve problems. In one of my classes earlier this semester, my students practiced using more than one property of equality to solve a linear equation in one variable. We began to do the following problem together as a class. A trucker has fixed annual costs of $27,600. The average non-fixed costs are . If the Read More…


Activity: Using Response Technology to Connect with Students

Contributor: Linda Dunham, Discipline Chair and Instructor of Academic Student Success, Central Piedmont Community College.   We can connect with students through discussion or written communication, but what is working really well in the classroom is connecting through the use of response technology, or “clickers”. “Clickers” are typically used as assessment and polling tools, but they can also be a tool for gathering students’ feedback about the course and the syllabus. This is where the First Week Syllabus Activity comes in. Instead of making the syllabus review a boring, drawn out process, make it interactive and engaging! Clicker questions can be as simple as: I think Read More…


Perceptions, Expectations, and Responsibility

Contributor: Linda Dunham, Discipline Chair and Instructor of Academic Student Success, Central Piedmont Community College. Many students view a study skills class as a requirement, an extra couple of credit hours, or a class that they don’t really need. Challenge: How do we convince our students that this course is exactly what they need in order to jump start their college experience? As an educator of first year students at a community college, I find that actively engaging students the very first week of class is one of the best ways to connect with them, to promote retention and to bring 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…


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…