Spring 2014 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
Spring 2014 Teaching Tips
Use Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) to reflect on your teaching and improve student learning in future coursesApril 15, 2014
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.
Use an annotated syllabus to track changes in your thinking about course design and document the effectiveness of your teachingApril 8, 2014
Faculty should use multiple sources of evidence to document the effectiveness of their teaching for annual evaluations and tenure and promotion portfolios. An annotated syllabus can document how you use feedback from students and other assessment evidence to improve the quality of courses you teach regularly.
Design motivating courses by first identifying why students are (and are not) motivatedApril 22, 2014
When we think about how to motivate students, we might assume our students will be motivated by the same goals and values that motivated us, but we will often be mistaken. When we try to motivate students with the wrong incentives, students disengage from classes and assigned learning activities...
Use elements of cognitive constructivism to design effective learning activitiesApril 1, 2014
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011) and others (Bransford et al., 2000) identify constructivism as a critical learning theory for the design of effective teaching methods. However, this term is often misunderstood and confused with concepts such as “social constructionism” (Hartle, Baviskar, & Smith, 2012).
Use a minute paper to evaluate what students actually learn from a lectureMarch 25, 2014
Lectures enjoy a reputation for enabling an expert to efficiently communicate content to a large audience. A well-crafted lecture delivered by an engaging, knowledgeable presenter is a delight. Consider evaluating how well students retain the key points you intended to communicate in one of your best lectures (Kalman, 2007).
Tips for managing email from students: How to be responsive and maintain your sanityMarch 18, 2014
Students are more likely to interact with instructors outside of class by sending an email than by visiting an instructor during office hours. Prompt responses to student emails create a sense of “connectedness” between students and faculty, contribute to the quality of engagement with the course, and can indirectly improve student learning and retention.
Develop expertise in students by creating cognitive apprenticeships for studentsMarch 4, 2014
Learning in a discipline involves more than acquisition of content knowledge. Development of expertise requires students to develop skills in reasoning and strategies for solving disciplinary problems or applying disciplinary models to real-world applications.
Small changes can improve class community and student course evaluationsFebruary 25, 2014
A well-organized, carefully planned course is critical for effective teaching, but attention to small details contributes to rapport with students and a classroom experience that supports effective learning. Corbett and LaFrance (2013) offer suggestions that improve the learning for students and the teaching experience for instructors.
Encourage students to make wise academic choices through effective advisingFebruary 18, 2014
Students seek academic advising from many individuals across the UWF campus. Faculty members should be knowledgeable about degree requirements for programs in their disciplines and be prepared to advise and mentor students on professional and career choices related to the discipline.
Share feedback with students while complying with FERPAFebruary 11, 2014
Students are more likely to improve their work when they receive frequent, diagnostic feedback from their instructors. Federal regulations govern and restrict the way we share information about students and their academic records and present challenges for how and to whom instructors release information about students.
Request feedback from your students about your course during the termFebruary 4, 2014
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.
Encourage students to evaluate the quality of information sourcesJanuary 27, 2014
Students are notorious procrastinators. Assigning an annotated bibliography early in the term helps students structure their time. For example, if we expect students to cite primary sources in a literature review paper, students who delay locating sources might scramble to locate the required number of sources and cite sources of marginal relevance.
Provide timely and explicit feedback to students to improve learningJanuary 21, 2014
Grades and scores provide students with some information on the degree to which students’ performance met an instructor’s expectations and criteria, grades do not explain which aspects did or did not meet the criteria and how (Ambrose, et al., 2010, pp. 139-140).
Use a rubric to evaluate class participationJanuary 14, 2014
George Kuh (2008) and Carol Twigg (2003) note that “students don’t do optional.” If we know an activity or study strategy is effective, they propose that we should encourage students to use it by making the activity mandatory. Unfortunately for us, this usually means we must grade the activity in some way.
Managing conflict in the classroomJanuary 7, 2014
Facilitating difficult conversations on controversial topics is a common practice among instructors from almost all disciplinary backgrounds. When instructors incorporate proactive and reactive strategies for conflict communication into course content and modeling constructive ways of handling conflict, they can prepare students to learn to manage conflict associated with a variety of aspects of difference that sometimes arise in the classroom.
Updated: 09/16/14 tjf