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
Spring Semester Teaching Tips
Do student learning outcomes reflect the goals of your course or program?April 12, 2016
When did you last review the student learning outcomes (SLOs) for your course? When did faculty last review and discuss the program-level SLOs for degree programs offered by their department?
What makes evaluating evidence and arguments hard?April 5, 2016
We expect students to write cogent and compelling arguments and use strong evidence when they write class papers. When faculty describe critical thinking skills, they often identify two learning outcomes. Students should evaluate the quality of evidence. Students should support assertions and conclusions with credible evidence.
Increase the visibility and impact of your scholarly work using ORCID and ResearchIDMarch 29, 2016
When faculty attempt to document the impact of their work, they must be able to clearly identify citations for their work and separate these from citations of work by authors with similar names.
Request feedback from your students about your course during the termMarch 22, 2016
Model the use of formative feedback for your students and reinforce the credibility of the end-of-term course evaluations.
How long should I retain grading records for my class?March 8, 2016
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.
Teach students to write readable sentencesMarch 1, 2016
Do your students struggle to write about technical topics in clear language? The Northwestern University Collaborative Learning and Integrated Mentoring in the Biosciences (CLIMB) initiative created a set of video tutorials on professional writing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Although the video is directed at a STEM audience and uses writing examples drawn from STEM texts, the five principles will improve writing clarity in all disciplines.
Write exam questions that create “desirable difficulties” to improve long-term learningFebruary 23, 2016
Desirable difficulties (Bjork, 1994) represent challenges students encounter during learning that may slow down progress in learning but produce large long-term benefits.
Why should students take your course? How do courses in your major contribute to common learning goals?February 16, 2016
Do students ever ask, Why am I required to take this course? If you teach a required course, you have an easy answer, You can’t earn a major in xxx without it. However, this answer invites a second question, Why is this course required for this major?
Sometimes learning requires unlearning . . . the challenge of unlearning old assumptions and learning new habitsFebruary 9, 2016
Students enroll in a class with existing knowledge and beliefs about the class topic. Some prior knowledge will be accurate information but some prior knowledge is simply wrong. Students’ knowledge may be simplistic, poorly organized, or include important gaps.
Guidance for students who want advice on how to study betterFebruary 2, 2016
Students are often confident that they know how to study until they receive the results from their first major exam. Students at all levels must adjust their learning strategies to align with the demands of the learning task.
How classroom behavior influences student perceptions of authorityJanuary 26, 2016
Do students perceive you as an authority or expert in your discipline? Is this perception reflected in your course evaluations?
What kinds of questions promote meaningful class discussions?January 19, 2016
Faculty ask students questions. We ask questions on exams and we ask questions in class. The kinds of questions instructors ask influence the quality of class discussion.
Build community by getting to know your studentsJanuary 12, 2016
Students feel more connected to faculty who know their names. Because names are abstract labels and the connection between a specific name and face is arbitrary, many people have difficulty learning names. The task is even more difficult when we meet many new people at one time, such as when we meet new students at the start of the term.
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