Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

Rubrics: An Undervalued Teaching Tool

Published Date:April 12, 2017

Rubrics: An Undervalued Teaching Tool. English teachers know a few things about managing the paper load. But managing isn’t leading. We should do more than manage the load; we should lead our students through the writing process (invention, drafting, and revising) to help them become independent thinkers who can effectively present their ideas to an audience. Rubrics offer an effective way to guide thinking and learning in any course that requires a paper or writing-intensive project.

Published Date: April 12, 2017


Why Open-book Tests Deserve a Place in Your Courses

Published Date:April 12, 2017

Why Open-book Tests Deserve a Place in Your Courses. With the proliferation of learning management systems (LMS), many instructors now incorporate web-based technologies into their courses. While posting slides and readings online are common practices, the LMS can also be leveraged for testing. Purely online courses typically employ some form of web-based testing tool, but they are also useful for hybrid and face-to-face (F2F) offerings. Some instructors, however, are reluctant to embrace online testing. Their concerns can be wide ranging, but chief among them is cheating. Instead of wasting valuable time to deter cheating, open-book tests shift the onus of responsibility onto the students themselves. They are the ones who must track down answers and page through online notes.

Published Date: April 12, 2017


Test Anxiety: Causes and Remedies

Published Date:March 23, 2017

Test Anxiety: Causes and Remedies. There hasn’t been a lot written recently about test anxiety, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer an issue for a significant number of students. Those of us who don’t suffer from test anxiety—and I’m betting that’s most faculty—can find it hard to be sympathetic. Life is full of tests, and students need to get over it. Besides, if students have studied and prepared, there’s no reason for them to feel excessively anxious about a test. Perhaps we should start by reestablishing that test anxiety is a legitimate problem. A significant amount of research says that it can affect students in kindergarten right on up through college and graduate school.  Teachers can’t cure test anxiety. But they can offer remedies that students should be encouraged to try. Information about good study strategies should be included in every course.

Published Date: March 23, 2017


Testing what you’re Teaching without Teaching to the Test

Published Date:March 23, 2017

Testing what you’re Teaching without Teaching to the Test. Have your students ever told you that your tests are too hard? Tricky? Unfair? Many of us have heard these or similar comments. The conundrum is that, in some circumstances, those students may be right. Assessing student learning is a big responsibility.  Assessments (e.g., tests, quizzes, projects, and presentations) that are haphazardly constructed, even if unintentionally, can result in scores and grades that misrepresent the true extent of students’ knowledge and leave students confused about what they should have been learning. Fortunately, in three easy steps, test blueprinting can better ensure that we are testing what we’re teaching.

Published Date: March 23, 2017


Are Happier Students Better Performers?

Published Date:March 8, 2017

Are Happier Students Better Performers? The importance of student happiness cannot be underestimated as a determining factor in academic performance, especially in the context of today’s universities. However, teachers can be empowered in their roles as holistic educators and become positive mentors for their students, providing understanding, empathy and encouragement. Furthermore, they can also train students in developing their emotional resilience. This should be given particular emphasis in this day and age, where students are increasingly vulnerable to the negative effects of boredom, stress and frustration in their university courses. So, teachers have an increasingly important role as contributors to student happiness.  It can be said that a truly happy student is likely to excel in his academic pursuit.

Published Date: March 8, 2017


Learning with Students vs. Doing for Students

Published Date:March 8, 2017

Learning with Students vs. Doing for Students. Here’s a quote, “I see myself as a learner first, thus I create my classes with learners, not for them ….”  When I think about classes I think about myself as a teacher first. So, I’ve been trying to imagine facing a teaching task from the perspective of a learner. The quote represents another push away from teaching and toward learning. But the preposition “with” makes it something more than just another admonition to be more learner-centered. Classes are created with learners, not for them. Even given my long-standing interest in learner-centered teaching, I have to be honest and admit, I created courses and now create workshops for learners, not with them.  Perhaps here is a way by doing beneficial things for students if I use what I have learned by doing things with them.

Published Date: March 8, 2017