discussion tips

Tools and Strategies to Keep Students Motivated and Focused

Keeping students motivated and focused: The challenge is not a new one, and certainly not exclusive to summer courses, but it can be exacerbated by the siren’s call of warm weather and summer fun that students face when opting to take part in these courses. Today, we’ll examine a few strategies and tools that you can inform them of so they can keep up their motivation, and even improve their focus. In The Confident Student, author Carol Kanar writes about a few strategies that students can use to give themselves a positive push toward self-motivation. Summarized below 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…


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…


Active Learning: A Foundation for the Classroom

Guest Contributor: Dr. Jennifer Hurd. Active learning is a teaching strategy used in many classrooms today. In active learning, the student constructs learning — often in collaboration with other students. The teacher becomes a facilitator of learning rather than a giver of knowledge. Active learning is a student-centered approach. Let me share some personal background on my experience with active learning. Before I learned about active learning, I was a lecturer. I walked in the door talking and walked out talking. Then I met a man named John Parker. He conducted a workshop on active learning and showed many activities that could be used in class regardless of content. I Read More…


Retention Strategies: Tackling Common Challenges

Guest Contributor Sande Johnson, Developmental Studies and College Success Specialist, Academic Services, Cengage Learning. About this time in the term, students start to drop various courses. It may be due to loss of interest or it may be because the material is beyond their ability. What can you do to stimulate interest and keep your students actively engaged in your course? Like our esteemed faculty in higher education, the Academic Services Consulting Group at Cengage Learning often has to address these very issues when launching into course development. We reach out to our instructional designers, editorial, and marketing partners who Read More…


Tips for Students: Participating Effectively in Discussions

At best, discussions can prove enlightening, engaging, and productive for all involved. At worst? We’re sure you have your own adjectives! Though you, as the instructor, generally play a role in moderating the discussions that take place in your class, your students bear the onus of participating in the discussion with respect, responsiveness, and responsibility. Given that your students may not come to your class knowing how to conduct a productive discussion, they may appreciate learning some of its basic elements. Cindy Griffin and Jennifer Emerling Bone’s text Invitation to Human Communication stress that, in order to be an Read More…


Promoting Student Civility: Online and Offline

Student civility may seem like a common-sense issue for students to work out on their own, but encouraging professionalism with simple rules for respect and consideration for student interactions online and offline can go a long way toward fostering an environment conducive to learner engagement. Here, we offer tips to keeping your students’ online or on-ground class interactions respectful and professional from Dave Ellis’ , and from Ryan Watkins and Michael Corry’s E-Learning Companion: A Guide to Online Success, Fourth Edition. In on-ground classes, set some ground rules up front for students to agree to adhere to in Read More…


Engaging Your Learners & Channeling Distractions

This week, we are featuring content from presenters at Cengage Learning’s upcoming Engage 2013 Conference. Today, we’ll hear from Professor Corinne Hoisington. In this video she shares an idea that you can put into action to engage learners at the start of each class period. She also offers tips on channeling potential technology distractions into opportunities to create an active learning environment.  [youtube //www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt5PBd6XwcI?wmode=Opaque] What types of activities do you do in your classrooms — on-ground, online, or blended — to get your learners engaged in the material? Share your thoughts and ideas in the Comments section below. Corinne Hoisington, Read More…


Adding Some TEC-VARIETY to Online Teaching and Learning

Guest Contributor Curtis J. Bonk, Indiana University. Seeking ideas for engaging learners in your online course? Today, Engage 2013 conference presenter Curtis J. Bonk shares his series of ten motivational principles, organized according to a helpful mnemonic device: “TEC-VARIETY.” What challenges have you faced, and resolved, in motivating online learners? Post your ideas, questions, or below.    With my “TravelinEdMan” moniker attached to my blog and Twitter feeds, friends and colleagues often ask me where in the world I am. Well, from late 2004 to early 2007, I was often found in the UK. During one such trip in March 2005, Read More…


Welcome Back Warm-Ups

With the start of a new year, and the start of a new term, come a new group of students in your classroom. In addition to standard first-day-of-class activities, such as introducing your course topic, stating your attendance and grading policies, and reviewing course materials, you may wish to devote time to introductions. In McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, Fourteenth Edition, Wilbert J. McKeachie and Marilla Svinicki offer some simple suggestions for getting to know one another. Given the time it can take to make it around the room, these ideas are perhaps best suited for use in a smaller class, Read More…