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
Create assignments that help students learnDecember 1, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Great assignments promote student learning. But creating these assignments requires expertise, time, and effort. Fortunately, many great instructors are generous and share their assignments with others. This tip describes two excellent archives of assignments that engage students and promote learning on key course outcomes.
What to do about students who “disappear” from your classNovember 17, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Has a student ever “ghosted” your class? Years ago, a student enrolled in my class, who had done quite well on the first course exam, suddenly stopped attending class. After a few missed classes, I sent him an email. When he failed to show up for the next scheduled class exam, I emailed him again and asked how he was doing and offered to schedule a make-up exam. He never replied.
Leverage errors to improve student learningNovember 10, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
No one enjoys making mistakes or finding an error in their thinking. However, error identification and error correction are powerful learning tools. Although experts perform fluidly with few errors, their expertise is attained through deliberate practice, which entails a focus on error-prone aspects of skills and use of feedback about errors to correct and refine thinking and behavioral skills.
Teaching in times of stress and traumaNovember 3, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
We are teaching during extraordinary times. COVID-19 imposes constraints on the physical environments in which we teach. We live in politically charged times, driven by multiple issues: climate change, Black Lives Matter, Me Too, and a divisive and hotly contested political election. Students, faculty, and staff are roiled by the emotions of these times.
Keeping our cool when class discussion gets hotOctober 27, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Between the coronavirus, hurricanes, public outcries for social justice, and a divisive national election, stress is at an all-time high. What should faculty do when a student blind-sides you with inappropriate comments or disruptive behavior during a class discussion?
Surviving COVID and Sally and this academic yearOctober 20, 2020 | Francine Glazer (WKU Writing Consortium), Claudia Stanny (ed.)
We’ve been through a roller-coaster in the past few months. “The number of COVID-19 cases is climbing!” “We’ve flattened the curve!” “The semester will end before Thanksgiving.” “Restaurants and hair salons will reopen next week.” “Masks are optional.” “Masks are required.” “Students will be welcomed back to campus and will live in dorms, but will attend all classes remotely, from their dorm rooms.” “Campus will be closed due to damages incurred from Hurricane Sally.”
Encourage participation and collaboration in ZoomOctober 13, 2020 | WKU (Scott D'Amico), Claudia Stanny (ed.)
Using Zoom as a virtual classroom environment can preset a number of challenges specifically as it pertains to student engagement. However, Zoom also provides tools that can be used creatively to help encourage in-class participation and collaboration among groups.
Request feedback from your students about your course during the termOctober 6, 2020 | Michael Dabney, Claudia Stanny (ed.)
Model the use of formative feedback for your students and reinforce the credibility of 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.
Humanize online learning - promote a sense of inclusion and equity in your remote classesSeptember 29, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Over and again, students and faculty voice their sense of loss for the social side of learning in the college experience. This tip offers advice for building and sustaining a community that is both inclusive and equitable, welcoming all students to the table.
Create a Google document to facilitate productive online discussionsSeptember 8, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Breakout groups in a synchronous Zoom or WebEx class session can be a great way to engage students with one another and with course content and skills. However, breakout rooms can pose challenges students and faculty might not encounter in the face-to-face setting.
Learning strategies that workSeptember 1, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Students benefit from specific guidance about how to study effectively. The demands and expectations for learning in higher education may differ from those students experienced in previous educational settings. The strategies they used to meet expectations then might not serve them well for current expectations. Now, with the pivot to increased dependence on remote instruction, students might need to develop additional learning strategies.
Include a statement about compliance with guidelines for safety on campus on your syllabusAugust 25, 2020 | Claudia Stanny, Michelle Williams
The first days of class are always important for building community among a new cohort of students and establishing a positive climate for learning. In the current context, class climate must extend beyond the usual norms for civil discussion, academic integrity, and respectful inclusion of students from a variety of backgrounds. Now we also need to establish expectations for minimizing the probability that a class gathering will create an opportunity for virus transmission (Kezar, 2013).
Assign graded work early in the term to alert students to problems with their learningAugust 18, 2020 | 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 11, 2020 | 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).
Managing classes during challenging timesAugust 4, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
The coming academic year promises to present unique challenges to faculty. The most obvious challenge is created by the need to establish community in a remote teaching environment or in a face-to-face classroom with significant precautions to limit opportunities for spread of infection.
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