soft skills

Being Mindful of Your Social Media History

As we’ve discussed this week, social media can be leveraged to engage students and expand your own social network. However, many of us also use it for personal reasons, and the line between personal and professional can begin to fade. There is a certain level of privacy lost by displaying personal information online, and it’s important to be mindful of the history you’re leaving behind as you post. This can be particularly important for job seekers and for your students who are starting their quest for employment. In New Perspectives: Portfolio Projects for Soft Skills, author Beverly Read More…


Financial Skills as College (and Life) Skills

Though not strictly a “study skill,” wise money management certainly plays an important role in students’ ability to plan and provide for the expenses related to their college education. This activity, drawn from the Instructor’s Manual for Joel English’s Plugged In: Succeeding as an Online Learner, can help students become more aware of their financial resources and responsibilities. Though these particular questions pertain to school-related expenditures, the awareness and experience that students gain by thinking about these issues today can prepare them for the types of decisions they’ll need to make once they graduate. Read More…


Addressing Interdisciplinary Digital Literacy

What does “digital literacy” mean to students as it applies to your courses? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. As we’ve discussed previously on the blog, digital literacy is an essential tool for preparing students for their future workplaces. When you teach students how to be digitally literate, you’re not only instilling important technical skills, but also an understanding of appropriate use of that technology. But being digitally literate doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Depending on a student’s field of study, his or her needs in understanding certain technology skills could Read More…


Helping Students Prepare for Online Courses

In some ways, having someone set a schedule for us makes our lives somewhat easier, doesn’t it? When we’re young, our parents and teachers schedule our time for us, but as we get older, we gradually become more responsible for making our own good decisions for how to manage our time. Online learning can present challenges to some students in that it doesn’t come with the same type of structure an on-ground course would. You aren’t typically expected to be in a physical location for a predetermined period of time to take part in learning online. In Plugged Read More…


What Personal Attributes Contribute to an Online Learner’s Success?

Most students entering an online learning program know the basic keys to success in education. After all, they have made it to college or graduate school — and perhaps even been at the top of their classes prior to arriving at their new institutions. However, the nature of online learning demands a particular set of skills, attitudes, and habits that lead to success — not to mention the self discipline necessary for programs that allow students to set their own schedule and work at their own pace. For this reason, even the most motivated and diligent students may find Read More…


Getting Learners’ Listening Skills In Gear

We know that effective listening goes beyond merely hearing what another person is saying; it requires one to understand and absorb what’s been said or presented. Thus, effective listening is a skill that, once learned and mastered, can pay dividends not only within one’s educational career, but in personal and professional settings as well. As an instructor, you can play a key role in helping learners master the art of listening effectively. These simple activities, adapted from suggestions in Marilla D. Svinicki and Wilbert J. McKeachie’s McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, can be worked into just about any class session, and will strengthen Read More…


Activity Idea: Create a Presentation on Emerging Technologies

Researching a topic on one’s own, and then teaching others about it, often provides a deeper understanding of that topic. The following activity, drawn from Beverly Amer’s New Perspectives: Portfolio Projects for Soft Skills, can help your students learn more about new technologies, and then gain the valuable — and confidence-building — experience of presenting what they’ve learned to you and their peers.  
There’s never a dull moment in the world of technology. This assignment gives you the opportunity to create your own PowerPoint presentation on an emerging technology. 1. Choose one of the emerging technologies or trends from the 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…


Preventing and Addressing Classroom Disruptions

Being an instructor is an exciting but often challenging position that carries with it an array of responsibilities. Not only are you responsible for classroom learning, but you must also operate as a leader in the classroom by fostering a professional atmosphere of respect and community-based sharing. Even without reading the article, you can probably think of how you might deal with situations of student incivility. In fact, to be a successful instructor today, this is exactly what you need to do. It is not advisable to wait for these incidents to pop up; planning ahead is one way to Read More…


Creating a Schedule for Yourself

If you’d like to begin the new year with confidence and a goal-oriented mindset, the act of creating a schedule can help you in that direction. When created purposefully, a schedule can be a tool that frees you to place a priority on the matters of greatest importance to you. In their book How to Study in CollegeEleventh Edition, Walter Pauk and Ross J.Q. Owens state that “…following a schedule soon becomes a source of strength and a boon to your life” (p. 44). In other words, a schedule helps you exercise greater control over your time and your attitude, which leads Read More…