Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

Do Quizzes Improve Student Learning? A Look at the Evidence

Published Date:February 23, 2017

Do Quizzes Improve Student Learning? A Look at the Evidence. There’s a lot of talk these days about evidence-based instructional practices. Recently I’ve been trying to locate the evidence that supports quizzing, wondering if it merits the evidence-based label. Tracking down this evidence in our discipline-based research is challenging because although quizzing has been studied across our disciplines, it’s not easily searchable. What this evidence tells us is that given a particular set of conditions, quizzes produce positive results, in most cases a range of them. And that gives us three things to consider: quizzes are an evidence-based instructional strategy only in a general sense; to determine if quizzes produce the desired results, evidence is needed; and consideration of the instructional design is of profound importance. Additional details are here.

Published Date: February 23, 2017


Three Guidelines and Two Workarounds for Tackling Makeup Exam Policies

Published Date:February 23, 2017

Three Guidelines and Two Workarounds for Tackling Makeup Exam Policies. Are you one of the many instructors who loathe makeup exam requests? Makeup exams often create more work and can put us in the awkward position of judging the truthfulness of our students’ excuses. Although we can’t avoid makeup requests entirely, we can better prepare ourselves and our students by having a transparent and fair makeup exam policy. When designing your policy, always ask yourself: Does the policy allow students to learn what you want them to learn in your course? Here are three guidelines for an effective makeup exam policy and two possible workarounds

Published Date: February 23, 2017


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