CUTLA Teaching Tips for Student Engagement
Teaching, learning, and assessment tips that facilitate student learning or promote student engagement based on scholarly literature and suggestions from faculty who have successfully used these strategies.
To Receive Teaching Tips
CUTLA Teaching Tips are weekly e-mail messages to the faculty of UWF describing an instructional strategy that faculty might find helpful in promoting active learning and student engagement. If you are a UWF faculty member and do not currently receive the Teaching Tip e-mail but would like to receive future postings, contact CUTLA.
Do you have an instructional strategy that improves student learning or promotes student engagement with your class? Send a description of your teaching tip to Claudia Stanny at the Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment for posting in a future Teaching Tip mailing.
Teaching Tip Topical Archive
The Topical Archive Teaching Tips is an accumulation of CUTLA's weekly Teaching Tips arranged in categories. Archived Teaching Tips
Fall Semester Teaching Tips
Implementing the new general education student learning outcomesAugust 14, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Beginning with the 2018 fall term, General Education (GE) courses are now organized around a revised set of student learning outcomes (SLOs).
Assign graded work early in the term to alert students to problems with their learningAugust 21, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
The first exam or major graded assignment in the term delivers a loud message to a certain number of students in a course: You are not performing well enough to succeed in this course. What can faculty do to help students who are “on the edge” pull back from the brink of disaster and succeed in the course?
The how and why of assigning letter gradesAugust 28, 2018 | Claudia Stanny & June Watkins
Grading systems in higher education have a curious history. In the late 1700s, Yale used Latin designations to identify different levels of merit (optime through pejores) but switched to a numerical score (0 through 4) in 1800, with numbers corresponding to letter grades (Nilson, 2003, 2015). Colleges and universities in the United States now record letter grades on student transcripts and use a numeric system to compute a grade point average.
How long should I retain grading records for my class?September 4, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
The term is finished. You finished grading the exams and papers, computed final grades, and submitted them to the Registrar. Time to celebrate and clean the chaos that accumulates in your office in the last weeks of the term. You hope to begin the next term with a clean desk, an organized bookshelf, and orderly files. What to do with old exams, syllabi, and other class materials you accumulated during the term?
Help students cope with stress by promoting resilienceSeptember 11, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Over the last 50 years, higher education has come to serve an increasingly diverse student population. In addition, students now report increased levels of stress and anxiety. Counseling Centers on campuses report addressing student concerns about anxiety at a higher rate in 2016 (50.6% of responding institutions), an increase from 39.4% of responding institutions in 2007 (Reetz, 2017).
How to design great assignments that assess key learning outcomesSeptember 18, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Great assignments help students practice and learn new skills. These assignments also help instructors assess learning (Suskie, 2018). A well-designed assignment presents students with activities and tasks that enable students to practice important learning goals. Great assignments communicate how the assignment requirements promote these goals (and their value) to students.
INSPIREd teaching: Apply strategies of effective tutors to teaching in large classesSeptember 25, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Tutoring, mentoring, and apprenticeships have a long history as ideal methods for effective teaching and learning (Bloom 1984). Do large enrollments preclude the benefits of one-on-one instruction? Wood and Tanner (2012) argue that instructors can adopt strategies used by effective tutors and increase the quality of learning in their classes.
Request feedback from your students about your course during the termOctober 2, 2018 | Claudia Stanny & Michael Dabney
Model the use of formative feedback for your students and reinforce the credibility of the end-of-term course evaluations. Introduce the topic of the value of formative feedback by discussing the value of formative feedback on your teaching. Point out that evaluative feedback from students at the end of the term does nothing to benefit the students who are currently enrolled in the course. Faculty simply can’t correct a problem that they don’t know about.
New service to help faculty accommodate students registered with Student Accessibility RecoursesOctober 9, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Student Accessibility Resources (SAR) have implemented a new web-based service management system for approval and delivery of disability accommodations for registered students enrolled at UWF. The secure site will improve communications between SAR and faculty about the accommodation needs identified for eligible students.
Build relationships between yourself and between students to improve motivation and learningOctober 16, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Building community and establishing personal connections with your students (and between students) creates benefits beyond “feel good” vibes in a class. Students who are motivated and engaged are willing to do the hard work that produces strong learning in their courses.
Focus student attention on the value of course topics and increase student motivation and engagement with a reflective writing assignmentOctober 23, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Many students in their first year in college encounter learning obstacles or struggle academically because they feel that they “don’t belong.” When these students encounter academic challenges or setbacks, they may question their ability to pursue an academic major, change majors, or even withdraw from college.
How to write multiple-choice questions that improve student learning as well as assess their learningOctober 30, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Faculty have long relied on tests to evaluate student learning and determine course grades. The testing effect describes the role tests play as learning activities. The benefits of testing are a robust, replicable finding in cognition and educational research.
Interactive lectures create pauses and quick activities that improve learningNovember 6, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
How often has your attention wandered during a faculty meeting or during a conference presentation? Attention waxes and wanes during a lecture. Sustaining attention in a lecture environment can be difficult, even for motivated students.
Two strategies that promote a growth mindset: Direct instruction on effective study strategies and concrete feedback about the quality of learningNovember 13, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
The consequences of fixed or growth mindsets (Dweck, 2006) have been a powerful influence on thinking about teaching and learning. Dweck found that successful students have a growth mindset and advocates using teaching strategies that promote a growth mindset.
How learning-centered is your course syllabus?November 27, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
The course syllabus serves many functions and must address several audiences. The immediate and primary function is as a planning document for students (and instructors) (O’Brien, Millis, & Cohen, 2008; Weimer, 2002). The syllabus functions as a quasi-contract that establishes expectations about instruction, expectations for student learning, and expectations for the kind of work students will produce and how that work will be evaluated.