Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

Final Exam Review Ideas

Published Date:November 29, 2016

Final Exam Review Ideas. In a study of student perceptions of teacher misbehaviors, Kearny, Plax, Hays and Ivey (1991) report that a common complaint by students involved “unfair testing” practices. Faculty misbehaviors related to tests as reported by students were trick questions, ambiguous questions, tests too difficult, and no exam reviews.  Here are some ways to help students prepare for the final exam and to reduce student anxiety. (Weimer, 1998).

Published Date: November 29, 2016


School’s Out! Almost. Strategies for the Last Day of Class

Published Date:November 29, 2016

School’s Out! Almost. Strategies for the Last Day of Class. The first day of class usually gets all the attention, and the last day of class is often neglected. By the end of a semester, the energy of most students and instructors has waned, and both have settled into comfortable routines. Too often, activities (if there are any) for the last day of class are cobbled together the night before, or the instructor gives a bland ‘wrap-up’ lecture summarizing the previous weeks. This is the challenge: how to create a last day of class that leaves students thinking about what a great course they took, and leaves you wanting to teach it again next year. Here are ways to make the last day substantive, engaging, and meaningful.

Published Date: November 29, 2016


Courses That Are Hard, but Not Too Hard: Finding the Sweet Spot

Published Date:November 9, 2016

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?  One solution is to give students opportunities to work on content in class and then listen closely to their conversations. Are they working hard, experiencing some frustration, but finally figuring it out? How much effort are they expending? Additional strategies, including exam wrappers, are discussed.

Published Date: November 9, 2016


Exam Wrapper

Published Date:November 9, 2016

Exam Wrapper. Here’s a strategy that helps students look at more than the grade when an exam is returned. An exam wrapper (I like the name) is a handout attached to the exam that students complete as part of the exam debrief process. The wrapper directs students “to review and analyze their performance (and the instructor’s feedback) with an eye toward adapting their future learning.” (Ambrose et al, 2010, p. 251). Here is a more detailed description of the exam wrapper strategy.

Published Date: November 9, 2016


Build-in Self-Assessment to Develop Critical Thinking: A Case for Annotation

Published Date:October 27, 2016

Build-in Self-Assessment to Develop Critical Thinking: A Case for Annotation. If we want students to be critical thinkers, we must routinely and explicitly give them structured practice opportunities to critically examine their own thinking. Squeezing two or three metacognitive activities into a hectic semester teaches students that such reflection is only for special occasions. Rather, student self-evaluation should be a daily course routine.  As an alternative to time-consuming, discrete, self-reflective assignments, we’ve turned to annotation as a built-in flexible routine to bolster any stage of the learning process. Annotation can help define grading criteria and reinforce course ideas.  

Published Date: October 27, 2016


Thinking Creatively and Critically

Published Date:October 27, 2016

Thinking Creatively and Critically. The posting below gives some excellent suggestions on how to help your students think more creatively and critically. It is by Rebecca Brent and Richard M. Felder and is from Chemical Engineering Education, 48(2), 113-114 (2014).  Check out Felder's website for more articles on teaching . Two popular targets on the list of Things These Students Can't Do are creative thinking (coming up with innovative ideas) and critical thinking (making judgments or choices and backing them up with evidence and logic). Some examples are: idea generation and prioritization, explanation of unanticipated results, and problem formulation.

Published Date: October 27, 2016