Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) for Immediate Feedback on Student Learning

Published Date:February 9, 2017

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) for Immediate Feedback on Student Learning.  Want to get timely information about how well and what your students are learning? Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are generally simple, non-graded, anonymous, in-class activities designed to give you and your students useful feedback on the teaching-learning process as it is happening. An additional benefit of using CATs is that they also serve as active learning strategies. The standard references on CATs is Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, 2nd edition, by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross (Jossey-Bass, 1993). This article from Vanderbilt Center for Teaching provides several examples and how to implement CATs.

Published Date: February 9, 2017


In the next few weeks, administer an Informal Early Feedback (IEF)

Published Date:February 9, 2017

In the next few weeks, administer an Informal Early Feedback (IEF). Student evaluations of teaching are an important part of the feedback that instructors receive. This feedback can be especially helpful when it is collected during the semester. Our students can tell us if we are clear, accessible, respectful or timely. They may also be able to tell us if the activities we give them are well aligned with the ways we evaluate their learning. Responding to students’ comments by discussing them in class, and making changes as appropriate, can lead to increased motivation, better learning, and possibly improved end-of-semester student ratings. Check this site for directions and sample IEF forms.

Published Date: February 9, 2017


Courses That Are Hard, but Not Too Hard

Published Date:January 25, 2017

Courses That Are Hard, but Not Too Hard. Finding the Sweet Spot. Courses need to be challenging, but when they become too hard, students stop trying and little learning results. So how do we find that sweet spot between hard and not too hard? More importantly, how do we create that sweet spot in our own courses through the decisions we make about content, assignments, and exams? Finding that perfect balance is not particularly easy or straightforward. Based on research, students do not prefer easy courses, but ones that are “Challenging”, but not “too difficult.” Here are some ways in which to find the line of demarcation of hard and not too hard.

Published Date: January 25, 2017


Teaching with Discussions

Published Date:January 25, 2017

Teaching with Discussions. One of the most challenging teaching methods, leading discussions can also be one of the most rewarding. Using discussions as a primary teaching method allows you to stimulate critical thinking. As you establish a rapport with your students, you can demonstrate that you appreciate their contributions at the same time that you challenge them to think more deeply and to articulate their ideas more clearly. Frequent questions, whether asked by you or by the students, provide a means of measuring learning and exploring in-depth the key concepts of the course. Be planful in how you start maintain, and finish the class discussion.

Published Date: January 25, 2017


Is Your Syllabus a Boring One Or a Promising One?

Published Date:January 12, 2017

Is Your Syllabus a Boring One or a Promising One?  Rather than read aloud your syllabus on the first day, how do you lively up a boring syllabus?  Clip art? More jokes? Perhaps even just one joke? A better method would be to adopt the idea of the "promising syllabus," a concept developed by Ken Bain, whose book (What the Best College Teachers Do, 2004). He doesn't claim to have originated the idea of the promising syllabus -- he discovered it, he said, from his review of the syllabi of outstanding college and university teachers, in which he found a common approach and some common features. "The promising syllabus," Bain wrote via e-mail, "fundamentally recognizes that people will learn best and most deeply when they have a strong sense of control over their own education rather than feeling manipulated by someone else's demands." A promising syllabus contains three key components.

Published Date: January 12, 2017


Make the Most of the First Day of Class

Published Date:January 12, 2017

Make the Most of the First Day of Class.  The first day of class always creates some nervousness, even for seasoned instructors. It helps to have a mental checklist of objectives to accomplish so that you and your students come away with the impression that the course is off to a good start. The first class meeting should serve at least two basic purposes: a) to clarify all reasonable questions students might have relative to the course objectives, as well as your expectations for their performance in class. As students leave the first meeting, they should believe in your competence to teach the course, be able to predict the nature of your instruction, and know what you will require of them and b) to give you an understanding of who is taking your course and what their expectations are. These two basic purposes expand into a set of eight concrete objectives that will maximize opportunities in your first day

Published Date: January 12, 2017