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.
Best of Teaching Tips
A collection of 80 of the best teaching tips from 2006-2016 categorized and presented in an easily readable PDF format. Best of Teaching Tips
Fall Semester Teaching Tips
How long should I retain grading records for my class?December 3, 2019 | 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.
How learning-centered is your course syllabus?November 19, 2019 | 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.
Why is this course valuable? What did I learn?November 12, 2019 | Leslie Madsen, Claudia Stanny (ed)
Students from many disciplines have difficulty identifying how their education prepared them for work outside the small number of professionals directly aligned with their major. How many job ads specifically require a degree in History, Biology, or Theatre? Although all of these degree programs prepare students with marketable skills, students struggle to articulate how their undergraduate degree prepares them for employment.
Milestone assignments help students develop planning skills and overcome procrastinationNovember 5, 2019 | Claudia Stanny
Things always seem to take longer than they take. Whether we are dealing with a contractor on a home renovation or students completing a large project, we often encounter a problem known as the planning fallacy (Buehler, Griffin, & Ross, 19974). Overconfidence in our ability to estimate how long it will take to complete a task encourages procrastination and produces missed deadlines.
Getting started with active learningOctober 29, 2019 | Claudia Stanny
Faculty are comfortable (usually) with the thought of lecturing, but get a little nervous about losing control of a classroom to an active learning strategy. The Vanderbilt Center for Teaching describes ten steps to help faculty get started selecting learning activities and implementing them in their classes.
Integrate writing, revising, and thinking during class discussionOctober 22, 2019 | Claudia Stanny
How often do students encounter course work in which writing and revision are not integrated into the class learning activities? Many instructors expect students to undertake writing and revision independently. Unfortunately, this approach inadvertently reinforces a belief that writing and revision are separate from learning and understanding content.
Universal Design helps ensure compliance with accessibility of instructionOctober 15, 2019 | Claudia Stanny
The University of West Florida has adopted a policy that establishes standards for Electronic Information and Technology (EIT) accessibility in compliance with applicable local, state, and federal regulations and laws. The policy applies to all EIT acquired, developed, distributed, used, purchased, or implemented by or for UWF and used to provide University programs, services, or activities.
Request feedback from your students about your course during the termOctober 8, 2019 | Michael Dabney, Claudia Stanny (Ed)
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.
Help students understand ethical authorship practicesOctober 1, 2019 | Claudia Stanny
Although students know that they must avoid plagiarism, they are often confused about ethical authorship practices. Conventions for when and how to cite sources vary across disciplines, which can add to students’ confusion.
Encourage students to readSeptember 24, 2019 | Susan Hall / WKU Writing Consortium, Claudia Stanny (Ed)
Most of us have experienced this downward spiral: We assign reading. Students find it challenging and don’t complete it before a scheduled class discussion. When we begin facilitating the discussion, we encounter blank faces, so we replace the discussion with an ad hoc lecture on the reading.
Evaluating and using Open Education ResourcesSeptember 17, 2019 | Claudia Stanny
Open Education Resources (OER), often published under a Creative Commons license, are free or low-cost resources that range from instructional modules (cases studies, rubrics, activity handouts that can supplement existing textbooks) through complete textbooks. OERs have garnered considerable interest because instructors who adopt OERs help reduce the overall cost of higher education by reducing the amount of money students must spend on textbooks.
Adopt characteristics of “Quick Starters” for a successful faculty careerSeptember 10, 2019 | Claudia Stanny
Robert Boice (1991) examined the career paths of new faculty members and found that about 5% of faculty in his sample met or exceeded expectations for scholarship and teaching skill by the time they reached their third year. Boice called these faculty the quick starters
Align teaching with how the brain worksSeptember 3, 2019 | M. Truong, Claudia Stanny (Ed)
Neuroscience plays an increasing role in helping educators understand how the brain works and how brain processes contribute to effective learning in educational settings. Bransford, Brown, and Cocking (2000), Doyle and Zakrajsek (2013), and Medina (2014) describe five principles related to how the brain learns.
Mid-class “share and compare” activity teaches students how to take better notesAugust 27, 2019 | Claudia Stanny
When students are surveyed about note-taking, they frequently report that they wished they took better notes (Morehead, Dunlosky, Rawson, Blasiman, & Hollis, 2019). Students recognize the value of taking good notes, but few report having ever been taught how to take effective notes.
Assign graded work for early warning to help students succeedAugust 20, 2019 | 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?
Multiple roles of the course syllabusAugust 13, 2019 | Claudia Stanny
Syllabi serve three main functions. A well-constructed syllabus documents instructor intentions about course goals and organization. The syllabus sets the tone for the course and enables instructors to communicate expectations about course culture to students. Syllabus content also informs a variety of administrative decisions (Eberly, Newton, and Wiggins, 2001, p. 57).
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