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 to interpret your student course ratingsApril 24, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Ratings on course evaluations play a pivotal role in annual evaluations and decisions about tenure, promotion, and teaching awards. Faculty should also use course feedback from students to reflect on teaching and course design. However, both processes require that we interpret student ratings appropriately and use the feedback from student comments wisely.
Develop professional networks to support faculty career advancementApril 17, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Managing a faculty career requires that faculty establish their expertise in three areas: teaching, scholarship, and service. Because professional networks can help faculty develop expertise in each of these areas, Austin and McDaniels (2006) argue that individuals entering the faculty ranks must be able to cultivate professional networks.
Promote critical thinking by encouraging students to entertain opposing viewpointsApril 10, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Do we shelter our students from hearing opinions and the supporting evidence that might make them feel uncomfortable and possibly moderate or change their positions? When we shelter our students from uncomfortable discussions, we also shelter them from learning how to articulate and defend their positions. Students need to learn how to discuss their ideas with people who may disagree with them.
Assign concept maps or mind maps as teaching and productivity toolsApril 3, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Concept maps and mind maps represent knowledge and ideas as diagrams. Maps can represent a large amount of information in a small space and provide a “big picture” that describes how ideas relate to each other. As a result, these visual graphic organizers can be useful brainstorming tools.
How does mentoring differ from teaching or advising?March 27, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
People describe faculty mentoring in terms of effective teaching or academic advising. However, the metaphors faculty and students use to describe effective mentoring reveal a relationship that is both broader and more varied (McKinsey, 2016). Yes, mentors teach and advise students. But mentors also model professional behavior.
In other words . . . teach students the art and craft of paraphrasing to improve ethical authorship practices.March 20, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Instructors can promote ethical authorship practices by helping students develop skills to write acceptable paraphrases and distinguish between plagiarism and paraphrasing.
Use Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) to reflect on your teaching and improve student learning in future coursesMarch 6, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
The final weeks of the term are one of the best times to reflect on student learning and consider changes you might want to implement the next time you offer the course. Identify activities and assignments that worked well and make notes to yourself about modifications to assignments, rubrics, and other aspects of the course that might create improvements.
Strategies that support the development of critical thinkingFebruary 27, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Critical thinking is hard. Like other important cognitive skills, critical thinking requires practice. We don’t learn to think critically by memorizing a set of rules. We must practice these skills in a variety of contexts and learn to think critically about a variety of contents (Nelson, 1999).
Strategies for monitoring attendance in large classesFebruary 20, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Students who attend class regularly tend to perform better in class, even when class grades are adjusted to account for personal characteristics such as SAT scores and high school GPA (Crede, Roch, & Kieszczyka, 2010). George Kuh has long advised that if an activity benefits student learning, we should require it (Kuh, 2001).
Promoting academic integrityFebruary 13, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Unfortunately, we often resort to negations to define academic integrity when discussions focus on how to detect failures of academic integrity, highlight examples of academic misconduct, and describe strategies for policing and punishing transgressions. How can faculty proactively promote the cultural values that serve as the foundation for academic integrity in their classrooms and research laboratories?
Help students develop effective metacognitive strategies to improve learningFebruary 6, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Metacognition refers to our knowledge about how memory and cognitive processes operate and how we use this information to select activities and learning strategies to improve our memory and regulate our learning. However, many students hold false beliefs about which strategies are most effective in helping people learn (Chew, 2015; McCabe, 2011; McGuire, 2014).
When is this due? Plan assignment deadlines to minimize technical problems when students submit their work.January 30, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
We all face deadlines. We are accustomed to deadlines that end at midnight or at the close of business hours. A conference submission must be posted by 5 PM in a particular time zone. Our tax returns must be postmarked or submitted electronically no later than midnight on April 15.
SWEET advice for student successJanuary 23, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
We spend a lot of time thinking about strategies for teaching and learning that can improve student learning. Sometimes, we need to step back and think about the state of the learner. How well can a student make use of the learning activities we design?
How long should I retain grading records for my class?January 16, 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.
Setting and Clarifying Expectations and Goals in the First Week of ClassJanuary 9, 2018 | Claudia Stanny
Consider beginning your class by asking students why they are in your class and what they expect to gain from their experience in this class (Benjamin, 2005). Instructors may be surprised to learn that students in their course have different goals than the “official” course goals.
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