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
Learning from the pivot to remote teachingMay 5, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Faculty who responded to an Inside Higher Education survey reported that the pivot to remote teaching included many changes beyond shifting to online or other remote delivery platforms (Lederman, 2020). The most frequently-reported change (reported by 63% of faculty who moved their course to online delivery) was to change the kinds of assignments or exams instructors asked students to do.
Create community from day one during remote teachingApril 28, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
As daunting as the rapid transition to remote teaching might have felt during the spring term, instructors had one thing working in their favor. They had already established community with their students through several weeks of face-to-face interaction.
How long should I retain grading records for my class?April 21, 2020 | 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. What to do with old exams, syllabi, and other class materials you accumulated during the term?
Planning for summer term: Identify a “teaching buddy” for your courseApril 14, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Before development of a vaccine for chickenpox, parents of school-age children experienced chicken pox as a series of waves of infection. One child in a class would come down with chicken pox. Ten days later, a cluster of classmates would have symptoms. Ten days later, another group of children would have symptoms. And ten days after that, any remaining uninfected children would be out with chicken pox. It wasn’t a matter of “if” your child would get sick, it was a matter of “when.”
Create a “time for telling” to motivate student learningApril 14, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Plutarch is given credit for first posing this classic problem of causality. All jokes surrounding the chicken and the egg aside, the problem of what should come first is a familiar one for teachers. For example, when should we tell students about what we want them to learn (or explain a concept) and when should we provide an experience or activity designed to help them learn it?
Teaching with compassion in the time of COVID-19April 7, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Campuses report that the shift to remote teaching entails far more than merely replacing face-to-face classroom instruction with online and other remote teaching formats. Life has become more complicated and stressful for both students and faculty.
Support international students enrolled in your remote coursesMarch 31, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
International students face unique challenges during the transition to remote teaching. For many students, visa requirements prohibit them from enrolling in courses online. The federal government has suspended these mandates to accommodate social distancing needs to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 and now allows institutions to temporarily change the mode of instruction to an online or remote format.
Class activity that helps students develop their skill with constructing argumentsMarch 31, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
When we ask students to build an argument, most students can argue for one position, usually the one they currently subscribe to. However, they struggle to identify arguments that counter their position, arguments that favor a different position, or fully recognize or articulate the complexity of the multiple legitimate positions on the issue under discussion.
Moving online quicklyMarch 24, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
In the best of all possible worlds, faculty have time to reflect on their learning goals and the best strategies to help students achieve these goals when they set out to design a course or move a course online. The COVID-19 environment is not the best of all possible worlds.
Make learning and disciplinary thinking visibleMarch 24, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Students tend to silo their learning, even if they sometimes think about course content and skills outside of class. Make the transfer of student learning visible (to instructors and to students themselves) by making the learning process more visible.
Create assignments that engage students in high impact learning strategiesMarch 17, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Instructors can produce big impacts on student learning when they design courses and assignments that focus on learning goals rather than delivery of course content.
Teaching in the time of COVID-19March 10, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, campuses across the country are taking measures to limit person-to-person contact. This week, these measures expanded to include movinginstruction to an online or remote delivery format.
Learning preferences are not learning styles . . . and why the language we use mattersMarch 3, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Let’s begin with debunking a persistent misconception about learning: Learning styles do not exist. Moreover, matching instruction strategies to a particular learning style, such as using visuals to teach a “visual learner,” does not improve learning for that particular student (Pashler, McDaniel, Roher, & Bjork, 2009).
Make disciplinary skills used by experts explicit for studentsFebruary 25, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Help students understand and master disciplinary thinking skills by making these skills explicit in assignments and during classroom discussions. Students may not recognize how disciplinary thinking skills manifest in your lectures and discussions of course content.
Lessons learned from teaching mistakesFebruary 18, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
We all make mistakes from time to time while learning anything. Learning to teach is no exception. The challenge for a beginning teacher (or even an experienced teacher) is not to be mistake-free, but to learn and grow from our mistakes.
Encourage students to attend office hoursFebruary 11, 2020 | Katie Pearson, FSU (WKU); Claudia Stanny (Ed.)
Many students, often first-generation students or students from underrepresented groups, don’t understand the purpose or value of attending office hours. Some students believe “office hours” refers to times when faculty are working on their own projects. Students may not realize that faculty set aside office hours for students to meet with them outside of class.
Everything you wanted to know about adopting OERs but were afraid to askFebruary 4, 2020 | Olena Zhadko, PhD. / WKU Writing Consortium; Claudia Stanny (Ed.)
“The book you don’t read won’t help.” - Jim Rohn Students do not buy a textbook for a number of reasons. Books can be expensive and scholarship funds might be skimpy. Students may have had poor experiences in which the textbook was irrelevant because the instructor did not clearly use the text in class or duplicated the text content in their lectures.
Create opportunities for students to reflect on how they learnJanuary 28, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Metacognitive skills refer to our ability to reflect on and direct our own cognitive processes. Students need to develop strong metacognitive skills to become self-directed learners. Prompts that ask students to reflect on and assess their own learning help develop metacognitive skills (Nilson, 2013).
Use the first 5 minutes of class to engage students with learningJanuary 21, 2020 | Claudia Stanny
Enduring learning begins with experience and often starts with a surprising experience (Rice, 2018). Capture students’ attention during the first few minutes of class with a compelling learning experience.
Strategies for building community in face-to-face and online classesJanuary 14, 2020
One of the most useful strategies for a successful class hinges on building community and establishing social connections and trust among students at the beginning of a term. Mills (2019) notes that social presence, trust, and community contribute to both student retention, increased student engagement, and improved learning in both online and the face-to-face classes.
Multiple roles of the course syllabusJanuary 7, 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).
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