April 9, 2013
Peer and self-evaluation of participation in discussion
We often focus on presentation skills as oral communication skills, but students more frequently need to either lead or contribute to productive group discussions. Small group discussions can easily go off the rails when students indulge in off-topic talking, inadequate listening, and disrespectful behavior. The dynamic quality of class discussion presents challenges to faculty who would like to hold students accountable for the quality of their participation in these discussions.
Multhaup (2008) describes how to prepare students for substantive class discussions and suggests two strategies for evaluating student contributions to class discussion. Many of these strategies can be adapted for the online environment.
Establish ground rules for effective class discussion(first week of class)
Establish expectations for class discussions by facilitating a think-pair-share activity during the first week of the term.
Use the comments from the group discussion to identify some ground rules and expectations for individual participation in class discussion during the remainder of the term.
Adaptation for eLearning: Create a threaded discussion based on questions such as
Peer evaluation of the quality of participation in discussion
Require students to complete a Participation Survey 3 or 4 times during the term. Each student must complete the following three evaluation elements for every student in the class, including themselves:
Compile the collective (anonymous) feedback for individual students and distribute this feedback to each student. If necessary, edit comments or add your own comments.
Adaptation for eLearning: Create a drop box assignment or survey in eLearning in which students answer these questions. You can make completion of the feedback a graded assignment (completed/not completed), compile the feedback information for individual students, and distribute this feedback through the course email function or provide it as feedback in the dropbox.
If you ask students to facilitate discussion, gather peer feedback about this skill
After each facilitated discussion, members of a discussion group complete a peer feedback survey for the discussion leader. The peer feedback answers the following questions:
Provide feedback several times during the term to enable students to improve their participation and discussion skills over time.
Multhaup, K. S. (2008, Spring). Using class discussions to improve oral communication skills. Teaching Tips (APA Division 20 – Adult Development and Aging).
October 11, 2011
How should I respond to a student who uses insensitive language in the classroom?
Occasionally a student may engage in disruptive classroom behavior such as using insensitive and uncivil language during discussion of a sensitive topic. For example a student might make homophobic comments during a discussion of sexual orientation. What is the best strategy to use when responding to a student who makes inappropriate and insensitive observations?
For more information about handling problems with classroom civility, the Counseling & Wellness Center invites faculty to attend a Faculty Coffee Workshop on Thursday, October 20th 2011 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM in the UWF Conference Center. Dr. Katz will train faculty in fostering classroom civility and violence prevention, with particular emphasis on handling male students who make objectionable or disparaging comments.
UWF Counseling & Wellness Services will host a campus-wide presentation by Dr. Jackson Katz, co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention program and a leading expert in gender violence prevention on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM in the University Commons Auditorium.
This tip is based on a suggestion from Dr. Patrick M. Preston, Psy. D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Counseling & Wellness Services, University of West Florida.
December 7, 2010
Use T-charts to develop metacognitive skills in students
T-Charts are tables or matrices (graphic organizers) in which students list and examine facets of a topic, such as the pros and cons of a position, describe the advantages and disadvantages of several potential solutions to a problem, or identify pieces of information on a controversial topic as either facts or opinions.
Use T-Charts to develop skills. We often assume that students already know the skills they need to thrive in our classrooms. However, students often cannot describe the specific behaviors intended by words faculty use to describe their expectations for classroom behaviors, such as participation, preparation or listening. Similarly, students do not necessarily connect behaviors such as punctuality, use of communication tools, and characteristics of their discourse with teachers and peers to the concept of civility.
Consider the responses students might give to the following question: What are the boundaries for an acceptable response when a peer makes a point you find offensive? Students might not respond to this prompt by articulating specific behaviors. The ability of students to articulate and engage in appropriate behaviors that faculty describe in response to this question represent team skills that are critical to successful functioning in a collaborative workplace.
In addition to using a T-chart to develop firm expectations about team skill, this activity can be used to help students develop specific study skills, such as reading a textbook or listening for and understanding another’s point of view. Create a T-chart to show visually what “active listening” sounds and looks like in terms of specific behaviors.
An instructor could develop a T-chart to describe expectations and distribute this as a handout. However, creating a chart collaboratively can have a more powerful effect because the activity will develop consensus and create buy-in. Constructing a T-chart with student input requires about 5 minutes of class time. The activity can also be used to encourage students to model some of the skills. This activity is a great opportunity for creating student engagement and class participation, often with a refreshing touch of humor. T-charts can be created to focus on any skill you would like to develop.
This tip was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium, (sponsored by Western Kentucky University) by Michael Dabney, Director, Teaching and Learning Center, Hawaii Pacific University (http://www.hpu.edu/index.cfm?contentID=9473&siteID=1).
October 12, 2010
Responding to Students in Emotional Distress
Many college students experience emotional distress as they learn to cope with new responsibilities, academic and financial pressures, expanding independence and social demands, and separation from their home. When should faculty or staff be concerned that this emotional distress has escalated to a dangerous level? What is the most appropriate response to students who express emotional distress in your class or in personal interactions with you?
Counseling and Wellness Services has prepared a web page with tips for faculty and staff on how to help students in crisis: http://www.uwf.edu/cws/selfhelp/Tips%20for%20Faculty%20and%20Staff.cfm
This site offers useful information for faculty and staff, including warning signs of a serious problem and guidance about how to respond. Faculty who have questions or concerns about a student are encouraged to call Counseling and Wellness Services (474-2420) for guidance on individual cases.
Thanks to April Glenn, Counseling and Wellness Services, for contributions to this teaching tip.
December 1, 2009
Electronic Information Literacy: Promoting Netiquette in your Class
The campus migration to Gmail provides us with an opportunity to revisit how faculty and students use e-mail for communication. Capitalize on this opportunity by discussing e-mail netiquette with students in your class.
The introduction of electronic communication (e-mail, online threaded discussions, Twitter feeds, etc.) to class interaction poses a new set of challenges for instructors: Teaching students to communicate professionally in electronic media. Faculty might initially think of this issue mainly in terms of their own response to inappropriate language from students in e-mail (Hey! Missed class yesterday. Did I miss anything?) and posts to online discussions (i don’t get the reading this week – booooooring : - ( will this be on the test?).
Effective communication through electronic media is an important skill. Help your students develop this skill with the following strategies:
Good web guidelines on netiquette can be found at the following:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Center for Teaching Excellence
Texas Tech University
Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center
September 8, 2009
Who are these new students?
Every August, Ron Nief and Tom McBride compile and publish the Beloit College Mindset List, in which they identify key cultural experiences and current events that characterize the life experiences and “mindset” of students we will meet in our classes as entering students this fall. As Nief and McBride note on their web site, this list is a helpful reminder of the sometimes dramatic differences between the life experience and cultural expectations of entering students and faculty. Advances in technology and popular culture can create divisions between generations that can impair effective communication. Knowing about these generational differences can help faculty better understand why some examples and cultural references that worked perfectly well a few years ago now draw puzzled looks or glazed expressions.
Access the current Beloit College Mindset List at the following URL:
Note: The topic of the October 16 Faculty Friday will be Generations in the Classroom: Characteristics of New Students and Strategies to Promote Classroom Civility. Join colleagues for lunch and a discussion of strategies for coping with generational differences in the classroom.
Updated 04/09/13 cdw
To report errors and/or broken links on the CUTLA website, please contact us at email@example.com.
Center for University Teaching, Learning, and Assessment | Bldg. 53, Room 208 | 11000 University Pkwy. | Pensacola, FL 32514 | USA | (850) 473-7435 | Campus Map | Text Only | Site map