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Engaging Students Through Current Events: Top Teaching Tip

How do you maximize student engagement? We received submissions from instructors across the country telling us how they use MindTap to amplify engagement in their course. Their stories have shown us how amazing and creative educators can be, and how important instructors feel it is to connect with students and help them reach levels of higher learning. Congratulations to our first place winner, Timothy Smith, Professor of Administration of Justice Studies & Homeland Security at Arizona Western College. Professor Smith uses MindTap for his Introduction to Criminal Justice course and takes advantage of the ConnectYard app to engage students in Read More…

Make the Most of Your Interactions with Students

As one term comes to a close, and you begin to prepare for the next, you may be reflecting on things you can do to get your new year off to a great start. Among the many things you might consider, you may be wondering: how can you build, or continue to build, effective and engaging interactions with students? We’re always eager to seek and share instructors’ ideas on such topics; so, in our recent Instructor Engagement Insights survey, we asked: If a fellow instructor asked you how to get more out of interactions with students, what would you Read More…

What’s the Secret to Student Success? You Tell Us

In a recent survey on Engaging Minds, we asked readers: What do you believe is the #1 factor in student success? Several instructors offered their insights; below, we’ve shared a number of their ideas.

Want to add your voice to the discussion? Share your thoughts on the #1 factor in student success in the comments below.

Motivation and relevance of the course material.
—Aymara Boggiano, University of North Texas
The ability to think critically is the main factor involved in student success.
—Dr. Phil Harris, University of Phoenix
Willingness to learn how to learn.
—Elizabeth McCarthy, Kirkwood Community Read More…

More Icebreaker Activities: You Share Your Favorites!

Previously at the Engaging Minds blog, we’ve shared a number of icebreaker activities that will engage students and get them talking on the first day of class. We also asked our readers to share the icebreaker activities that they’ve found especially effective. Today, we’re presenting a few of these icebreaker activities, which allow students to begin building the connections that support their success and create classroom community.

Share your favorite icebreaker activities in the comments section below.

  I always do a “Meet and Greet” where students share any professional experience and some personal information (like hobbies and interests). I Read More…

What’s the Most Effective Community-Building Strategy? Share it With Us

Whether you’re a seasoned instructor of online courses or you’ve only taught a handful, you have undoubtedly observed a number of best teaching practices that lead to a strong sense of community within your online class.

Today, we’d like to hear about the most effective community-building strategy you’ve put into place in your classes. Please describe your ideas, experiences, and words of wisdom in today’s survey. Thank you for sharing your insights!

Building Online Community: What Challenges Do You Face?

Students meeting for an on-campus course have many opportunities to build community. They see one another on a fairly regular basis—for the class session, at the very least. They may chat before class or walk to their next class together, and come to form connections. During class discussions, students can see each others’ facial expressions and hear the tone that others use to voice their answers and opinions. And in the bigger picture, they share a common context—the campus in general, and the classroom in particular—that allows them to relate to one another’s experiences at a certain (even Read More…

Benefits of Creating Community in the Online Course

Consider what you find most engaging and stimulating about the classroom experience. Certainly, the act of learning plays a paramount role in your enjoyment, and in students’ success. However, lively interaction and exchange of thoughts and opinions can turn a fairly satisfying class into one that you and your students attend with great eagerness and anticipation. Now picture an online course. What benefits could you gain by developing community among your students? How might a strong sense of community within the class build up their levels of motivation, engagement, and willingness to apply themselves during activities, assignments, and other Read More…

What is an Instructor’s Most Valuable Trait?

Ask any college student, and you’ll surely hear a number of different reasons why they value their instructors: from the knowledge they possess, to the way they present course material, to the energy they bring to every class session. But what do they find most valuable in an instructor? Would they say the same things that you believe they’d say?

In recent polls, we asked both students and the Engaging Minds readership: What do students most value in an instructor? Take a look at the responses below:

Read More…

How Students Stay Motivated in College

Our readers have shown great interest in our posts that address a variety of ideas and strategies for motivating students, and we’re always interested in your perspective on the topic as well. We’re also eager to investigate what students have to say on a variety of topics, and we believe that you are, too!

In a recent poll, Cengage Learning asked college students: What keeps you going throughout the day? We were also curious about what instructors believe keeps students going throughout the day, so we asked the Engaging Minds audience to provide their insights, too.  Here’s how they responded: Read More…

Students Answer: What is the Key to Doing Well in College Courses?

Student success is certainly a top priority for college instructors, as well as the librarians that work on campus. Of course, students also want to succeed; after all, most of them are attending college in order to earn a degree or certification that prepares them for their futures, and it behooves them to do well, so that they can graduate or pass the professional certification exams that serve as evidence of their education, experience, or aptitude.

Though the end goal of student success may be the same for students and instructors, we were curious to learn students’ perspective on the key to college success. So, recently, Cengage Learning polled college students and asked: What’s the key to doing well in a course?

The poll presented several answer choices: loving the topic; keeping up with the assignments; active class participation; studying with others; and open communication between instructors and students. In addition, we gave students the option of responding “all of the above,” and we also provided the chance to indicate that something else was the key factor in college success. The results? Read More…