An Engaging Classroom Experience, Student Style

What does it take to create an engaging classroom experience? As an instructor, we’re sure you have your own response to this question.

But what would students say? How would they inspire and engage a classroom full of learners?

Below, we’ve shared summaries of the strategies that appeared in our “Instructor for a Day” contest finalists’ videos. You’ll find twenty fun and creative ideas from the minds of students. To see all they and to say, be sure to view and vote for your favorite submission on our “Instructor for a Day” student scholarship Facebook page!
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MindTap for U.S. History Increases Student Engagement at Oakland University

Dr. Dale Prentiss, Special Lecturer in Oakland University’s History department, teaches HST 114, a survey course that covers American history from the colonial era through post-Civil War Reconstruction, focusing on the formation of the United States and the forces promoting unity and division in the new nation. The course is offered in both in-class and online formats and can be taken to satisfy Oakland University’s requirements in either western civilization knowledge exploration or U.S. diversity.

Prior to using MindTap for U.S. History, Dr. Prentiss had been teaching his course using a combination of a print textbook and online learning solution. He began exploring using MindTap after seeing a demonstration of the solution integrated with Gale research content. Dr. Prentiss knew that Oakland University’s library had recently made
a significant investment in Eighteenth Century Collections Online and was excited by the possibility of bringing that content directly into the students’ learning path. In addition to the unique feature of integrating library research content into his course, Dr. Prentiss believed that MindTap could help him create a course that was more engaging and encouraged students to think critically.
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Instructor for a Day Scholarship Contest: Vote for 2015’s Winner

It’s time to vote for the winner of Cengage Learning’s 2015 Instructor for a Day scholarship contest! We received over one hundred entries, and we’ve narrowed the field to twenty student finalists. Watch their inspiring, engaging videos, then vote for your favorite!

The video with the most votes receives a $1,000 scholarship, and five runners-up will each receive $500 scholarships.

Voting opens Wednesday, June 24th and closes at 11:59 PM Eastern on Wednesday, July 22nd. Tell your students, colleagues, and friends—and help our entrants in their quest to receive a scholarship!
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The College Experience, in One Word

What words come to mind when you think about the college experience? Motivating? Inspirational? Challenging? Exhilarating? Exhausting? Necessary? Worthwhile?

Have something in mind? Now let’s hear what students had to say! During the 2014 NerdNation convention, we asked several members of Phi Theta Kappa: If you could describe your college experience in word, what would that be? Their answers will encourage and surprise you… and give you a smile as well!
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Student Insights: How Aplia Made Me Better Prepared for Class

In the video below, students from Phi Theta Kappa’s 2014 NerdNation convention discuss how Cengage Learning’s Aplia boosted their skills, engaged them through relevant resources, and and made them better prepared for class.

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Make Your Video Presentation a Success!

Visual media is one of the most engaging, captivating, and effective methods for displaying information. Video lectures, slideshows, and other media have been proven to better catch the attention of students.

So you’ve got a vision for a video. Great! While the concept of your video may seem crystal clear in your head, the transition from your mind to the computer screen can get somewhat muddied. However, a little bit of video software know-how can go a long way. Here are some tips on how to truly bring your vision to life!
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The Classroom Experience: What is Essential to Students?

What do students expect when they enter their college classrooms (on campus or online)? What piques their interest, boosts their confidence, and helps them feel engaged in the learning process?

At Phi Theta Kappa‘s 2014 NerdNation convention, we talked with numerous students about their college experience. Among these questions, we asked: What do you think is an essential part of the classroom experience? 

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Students Tell Us What Gets Them Engaged in the Classroom

During Phi Theta Kappa‘s 2014 NerdNation convention, we had conversations with numerous attendees and talked to them about their lives as college students. In the following videos, you’ll see how they responded when we asked: How do your instructors get you engaged in the classroom? Take a few minutes to listen to what these students from around the United States had to say about the tools and techniques that caught their attention, developed their understanding of course materials, and brought their classes to life. From debates and discussion to thought-provoking activities and assignments, you’ll hear that students respond to a variety of strategies that Read More…

Students on Using Games in the College Classroom

Over 4,100 students attended Phi Theta Kappa‘s 2014 NerdNation convention, giving us a chance to engage with them and learn about their experiences with student life. More specifically, we wanted to know about their goals, what engages them in their courses, what digital tools they’ve used, and what advice they would give to college-bound high school students.

In this video, we hear from two attendees, who discuss the educational benefits of using games in the college classroom. Rafael Jimenez (a student at Butler Community College) and Stephen Orr (a student at Morainepark Technical College) told us how their instructors used games that engaged them in the learning process and helped them better understand course concepts.

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Six Tips for Creating a Video that Engages College Students

Addressing the issues of making a quality video can be a tough challenge as you struggle to attract your students’ attention. With those factors to address, it is important to find the balance between visual entertainment and reaching students with your message. With examples provided by last year’s Instructor for a Day contest participants and winner, we derived these six elements that can help get the job done.

Instructors, what techniques do you recommend for creating a video that engages college students? Share them in the comments.

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