As the academic year winds down and we look toward the summer, I present to you a list of all the Weekly Teaching Notes from this academic year, with links to their locations on the web. Weekly Teaching Notes will break for the summer and resume again in the fall.
I've enjoyed the email conversations I've had with many of you this year, as you responded to me about a particular idea. At the Center for Teaching and Learning, we are here all summer and are eager to assist you with your teaching, course design or redesign, scholarly writing, and preparing your reappointment/tenure/promotion portfolios. (All consultations are voluntary and confidential.) To make an appointment with us, please email Olena Zhadko (instructional designer) at firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com. We will be delighted to work with you!
Your Responses - Motivating Students to Improve Study Habits
Motivating Students to Improve Study Habits
Guide Your Students Toward More Effective Study Habits
Technology and Student Learning
Enhance Student Collaboration with Online Tools: Google Apps
More on Student Collaboration and Google Apps
What's the Right Tool for the Job?
Glogster and Audio Essays
Which Tool? ... Blackboard? Google Apps? Something else?
Use an Annotated Syllabus to Track Your Thinking about Course Design
Communicate High Expectations
Storytelling, Creativity, and Classroom Management
Engage Students in Your Course by Providing a Larger Context
Using Games in the Classroom
Value Lines Help Students Examine Both Sides of an Issue
Building Critical Thinking Skills with a Pro-Con-Caveat Grid
Developing Critical Thinking with Journal Writing
Lectures and Presentations
Make Your PowerPoint Memorable With Images
On the Use and Abuse of Lecture
To Post or Not to Post: What Are the Consequences of Posting PowerPoint Slides for Student Learning?
Academic Integrity and Plagiarism
Personalize Plagiarism to Prevent its Practice
Five Tips to Reduce Cheating
Turnitin is now available within Blackboard
Using SafeAssign as a Teaching Tool
Help Students Develop Paraphrasing Skills to Deter Plagiarism
Grading and Student Feedback
Grade Mechanics Quickly, While Helping Students Learn
Tips for Gathering and Responding to Student Feedback
Grading, Like It or Not!
Weekly Teaching Notes: 2010-2011 index
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.
– Vernon Sanders Law, former major league baseball player (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Strong emotions help cement an experience into long-term memory. Not convinced? Think back – where were you when …
We can use this phenomenon to help our students learn certain key concepts more deeply. For example, let’s look at how Deborah Zarker Miller, an assistant professor of English at Anderson University, makes plagiarism very personal to her students.
First, ask your students to create an original work that is in some way related to your course, and tell them they will each have 60 seconds to present their creation to the class. A student in Foundations of Inquiry might create a brief video or write a short essay elaborating on one of the disciplines introduced in that course; a student in Interior Design might create a montage of sustainable materials; a student in Life Sciences might build a 3-dimensional model to represent a structure in the cell; a student in Engineering might create a schematic for a new, energy-efficient vehicle.
At the next class, after each student presents his or her work, let the students wander around and examine them more closely. Most likely, you will see a range of creativity – and of effort – in the projects. Tell the students to identify the work they find the most creative by standing next to it. Some students will choose their own work, but other students will likely choose someone else’s.
Once everyone has made a choice, tell the students to cross out the name of the person who created the project they are standing by, and to write in their own names instead. Inform them that you will give credit to the student(s) who have identified that work as most creative, not to the student who produced it. Wait for your announcement to sink in, and then ask if there are any questions. As the discussion evolves, the students will begin to realize the connection between what has just happened and plagiarism. Perhaps experiencing plagiarism from “the other side” will make a deeper, longer-lasting impact.
To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The activity created by Deborah Zarker Miller was used with permission.
Are you looking for a way to try something new in your class, review material, encourage participation, or simply break up lecture with an activity? Consider incorporating games in your academic classes and involving your students actively in the learning process.
A Value Line ascertains students' opinions in a quick and visual way by asking them to line up according to how strongly they agree or disagree with a statement or proposition. For example, instructors may ask students to respond to the following statements:
Clear instructions reinforced by visual aids are particularly important for implementation of a Value Line because many students are unaccustomed to active learning that involves active movement.
To initiate the structure, teachers should show the students the statement plus a five point Likert scale with the endpoints labeled “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree.” They then ask students, after a moment of "think time," to choose the number that best describes their position on the issue.
Another approach might be to have students select numbers based on their proficiency or comfort level with specific topics or skills, such as preparing and giving oral presentations.
To avoid indecisiveness, it is a good idea to have the students jot down theirnumber before the next step. Instructors next ask students who have chosen "one" to stand at a designated point along the wall of the room. The students who have chosen "two" follow them, and so forth until all students are lined up. It is important to stretch the line sufficiently so that students are not bunched together in large clumps.
After the students have formed a continuous line based on their responses to the prompt, form heterogeneous groups. Here’s an easy way to do that. First, divide the number of students in the class by the number of students you want in each group. Then, have the students count off by that number, and sort themselves into groups accordingly. For example, if I have 40 students in my class andwant them to work in groups of 4, I ask them to count to 10, starting at oneend of the line, and ask the 11th student to begin again at 1. Any students coming late to class join a team as an additional member.
Pairing students of opposing viewpoints allows them to stretch their perspectives and to learn to examine at least two sides of an issue.
To follow up on any of these ideas, please contact me at email@example.com. This Weekly Teaching Note was adapted from a contribution to the Teaching and Learning Writing Consortium sponsored by Western Kentucky University.
Teaching and Learning Center
University of Texas at San Antonio