Teaching Strategy Resource Shelf

The Last Class: A Critical Course Component

Published Date:April 28, 2016

The Last Class: A Critical Course Component. There has been significant and well-deserved attention paid to the first class. This class is critical in setting the tone and expectations of the course. Unfortunately, the same amount of attention has not been paid to the last day of class. To us, this class is as important as the first. It is the class where the professor has an opportunity to celebrate the learning of the students. Unfortunately, this day is usually saved for final exam review, finishing up projects or dealing with logistical details like date, time, and location of the final or where to pick up graded term papers. The course ends with a whimper instead of a bang. Think about different ways in which to make this last day as important as the first day of class as a way for celebration and reflection.

Published Date: April 28, 2016


The wrap-up: Ideas for the last day of class.

Published Date:April 28, 2016

The wrap-up: Ideas for the last day of class.  “When I was younger I recall having many good intentions about using the last day of class to reflect on and integrate what had happened during the semester.  Students would think about and share their Meaningful Learning Experiences, there would be significant bonding, perhaps a few tears shed, and we would all leave on a high note – in my imagination. In reality, I often use that day to catch up, students are exhausted and cranky, and they’re glad when I let them go early.” Adequate closure creates a sense of satisfaction for all involved and can reinforce the meaningful connections we’ve made with our students – connections that sometimes get lost or strained with end-of-semester stress. Read here for valuable suggestions such as letters to the future.

Published Date: April 28, 2016


Five Ways to Improve Exam Review Sessions

Published Date:April 13, 2016

Five Ways to Improve Exam Review Sessions. Here are two frequently asked questions about exam review sessions: (1) Is it worth devoting class time to review, and (2) How do you get students, rather than the teacher, doing the reviewing? Instead of answering those questions directly, a more helpful response might be a set of activities that can make exam review sessions more effective.

Published Date: April 13, 2016


Global Learning Through Short-Term Study Abroad

Published Date:April 13, 2016

Global Learning Through Short-Term Study Abroad. Faculty members and program directors agree that when working with a short time frame for study abroad, preparation is tantamount to success, both for the students and for the faculty member leading the group. Nearly all short-term programs are faculty-led, rather than exchanges with foreign institutions, and this setup provides many built-in benefits. Faculty, administrators, and program directors tend to agree that students get the most out of short-term programs that are highly structured, require ongoing reflection, and include in-depth experience working or studying with host country participants. Here are five best practices for short-term study abroad projects.

Published Date: April 13, 2016


Boredom Busters – When Students Say the Reading is Boring

Published Date:March 30, 2016

Boredom Busters – When Students Say the Reading is Boring. For many students in classes, the struggle to comprehend a challenging text often results in disengagement, not increased effort. Academic reading can trigger an understandable defense mechanism in students; they can avoid the discomfort of some difficult tasks by calling the work “boring.” This is a special kind of boredom. Unlike the boredom we associate with repetitive or simplistic tasks – think assembly line work here – academic boredom results from cognitive overload rather than lack of stimulation. The brain has too much to deal with, rather than too little, and so it shuts down, says, “Thank you, but I’ve already had my fill today,” and defends the student against further stress by allowing him or her to “tune out” for the class. Academic boredom, or what composition scholar Charles Bazerman calls pseudo-boredom, is thus a type of guard dog against feelings of confusion and insecurity. This article describes some ways to help students understand difficult texts.

Published Date: March 30, 2016


Five Types of Quizzes That Deepen Engagement with Course Content

Published Date:March 30, 2016

Five Types of Quizzes That Deepen Engagement with Course Content. Have you thought about ways in which to maximize the benefit of quizzes?  Have you used quizzes that rely on low-level questions where the right answer is a memorized detail or a quizzing strategy where the primary motivation is punitive, such as to force students to keep up with the reading. That kind of quizzing doesn’t motivate reading for the right reasons and it doesn’t promote deep, lasting learning. There are innovative ways faculty are using quizzes, and these practices rest on different premises. This article describes ways for students to learn content deeper.

Published Date: March 30, 2016