Teaching Ideas from Adelphi Faculty

Read the statements of teaching philosophies and practices of past recipients of the Teaching Excellence Award.

Peer Observations

See the Teaching and Advisement Committee’s list of faculty members willing to be observed so as to share their teaching practices with colleagues.


Explore additional resources for information about teaching.

Teaching Tips

The Senate Committee on Teaching and Advisement wishes you all a safe and restful summer. We would like to share these tips on connecting with students in a remote learning environment from your colleagues:

Teaching Excellence Winner Professor Matt Curinga likes using group chat software for keeping in touch and building community during online classes. He and his colleagues have a Slack team set up for the Educational Technology MA program, and each class has a channel. He notes using this team space for informal discussion, to share things that are interesting but not directly related to class, and for students to get help or clarification casually. In addition, he mentioned Discord is Free Open Source Software with some useful features. (Other instructors might try WhatsApp or GroupMe for similar results).

Professor Anil Venkatesh also notes that the Mathematics and Computer Science departments have built a “social scene” among students and faculty during remote learning through experiments with SLACK, as a text-based communication method for teamwork.

Professor Melissa VanAlstine-Parris noticed that students sign on to zoom sessions early just to chat with other students, and plans to set up special zoom rooms for these social interactions.

Professor Kellyann Monaghan invites students to answer a weekly question during her Drawing course meetings online, such as “What challenges are you having this week”

*Do you have a tip you’d like to share around online/remote learning? Please email cweida@adelphi.edu.

**Need a University service committee? The Senate Committee on Teaching and Advisement welcomes new members! Please contact chairs Steven Cox (scox@adelphi.edu) or Melissa VanAlstine-Parris (mvanalstine@adelphi.edu) or Courtney Weida (cweida@adelphi.edu).

The Faculty Senate Committee on Teaching and Advisement wishes you a wonderful Fall semester. What inspires you as an educator? This tip includes some eclectic resources around student engagement, meaningful grading, and mindfulness we hope you will find useful:

With many of us utilizing Moodle to some extent for our teaching, the topic of student engagement in online discussion boards can be a central and ongoing priority. Explore this recent resource on active learning, deep contemplation, and metacognition about learning.

Looking to grade more meaningfully? This link explores creating “a classroom culture of choice and accountability”.

Did you know the Rubin Museum offers a meditation inspired by their art collection? Check it out to explore mindfulness creatively in your teaching and/or your life.

*Have a teaching tip you’d like to share? Please email cweida@adelphi.edu.

**Need a University service committee for Fall? The Senate Committee on Teaching and Advisement welcomes new members! Please contact Co-Chairs Steven Cox or Melissa VanAlstine-Parris.

This teaching tip draws inspiration from Teaching Excellence Winner Dr. Eugenia Villa-Cuesta, who describes qualities of effective teaching from her view:

“Good teaching leads to improvement in students’ learning (content and skills). Therefore in my classroom students work actively in the learning by doing, discussing, and creating so I can help them if they have misconceptions inside the classroom. I also try to measure learning using before and after semester assessments and a wide range of formative assessments: clickers, concept maps, etc. That way I know if I did a good job as a teacher or modify accordingly if I did not.”

Please join us to discuss teaching more during our Spring into Teaching Workshop on Tuesday, April 30 at 1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. in 159 Nexus. Contact Dr. Steve Cox or Dr. Courtney Weida with questions.

Explore five key teaching tips from a new book on teaching and science, including ideas on avoiding student anxiety, focusing on care in teaching, limiting lengthy lectures, utilizing group work effectively, and emphasizing feedback over grades. Read more here.

On that note, please join us for a workshop with recent Teaching Excellence Winners Professors David Machlis (Finance and Economics) and Eugenia Villa-Cuesta (Biology) on Wednesday, March 6 from 1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. in Nexus 159.

P.S. Searching for a committee this Spring? Consider the Senate Committee for Teaching! Contacts: scox@adelphi.edu, cweida@adelphi.edu, mvanalstine@adelphi.edu.

Love the lecture or loathe it? This paper considers the rich history of this form of educational address from early oral culture to contemporary TED talks and Khan Academy, with tips from the literature on lecturing. Highlights include:

  • sharing passion and enthusiasm for the subject by telling students why you are personally interested in lecture topics – where possible, this could be a link to their personal research
  • linking the lecture current news
  • using relevant and current examples to illustrate points
  • drawing on students’ experiences
  • using rhetorical questions to encourage students to keep on track
  • using live links to the web to demonstrate currency of the material presented.

Read more.

How do you approach lectures (or not)? Please share some tips.

Searching for a committee this Spring? Consider the Senate Committee for Teaching! Contacts: scox@adelphi.edu, cweida@adelphi.edu, mvanalstine@adelphi.edu.

The Senate Committee on Teaching & Advisement wishes you a wonderful end of semester and holiday season! Please enjoy these tips for this time of semester:

How do you close your class? Would you consider a 1-minute paper, or a re-cap of closing connections to the next topic? Check out this brief blog post for more ideas.

This post considers the end of the semester in terms of a checklist for improving courses and your productivity as faculty – enjoy!

Do you have any tips on how to end classes that really worked well for you? Please email cweida@adelphi.edu to share.

Please save the date for our POGIL workshop (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) on Tuesday, January 22nd from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in NEX 126.

The Senate Committee on Teaching & Advisement always welcomes new members – please email us if you are looking for a Spring committee: scox@adelphi.edu, mvanalstine@adelphi.edu, or cweida@adelphi.edu

Are you feeling overwhelmed this time of semester? Are your students experiencing burn out? When you have a little time to re-evaluate, please enjoy these resources on time management and avoiding burn out. This post invites you to examine time allotment to reconfigure.

Here’s a related podcast on managing your time as a faculty member – or if you’re short on time to listen – scroll down for a quick list of 5 low tech and tech-friendly time management tips.

*(Time permitting) please share some of your own time management teaching tips: cweida@adelphi.edu.

*Searching for a University service committee that manages time well? Consider the Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement. Please contact Chair Steve Cox or Co-Chair Courtney Weida.

As professors, many of us feel we teach for the love of it. But what is the role of happiness for our students? How does their productivity connect with a sense of happiness? Check out this brief and (we hope) interesting article on teaching and student emotions, productivity, and the re-humanization of education.

Also, this link investigates different ways of bringing joy and creativity into thinking and taking notes through mind-mapping.

*Do you have a tip on keeping students happy, while keeping the curriculum healthy, so to speak? Please share: cweida@adelphi.edu.

**Need a University service committee that embraces teaching? The Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement welcomes new members! Please contact Chair Steven Cox.

The Senate Committee on Teaching & Advisement wishes you a productive semester. This first 2017-18 teaching tip encourages us to begin to explore positive psychology in the classroom. How can we cultivate emotional learning to impact academic learning? The linked article suggests educators might:

  • facilitate emotional curiosity among students,
  • connect with students’ emotions for deeper learning, and
  • help students identify their strengths and practice those strengths.

Read more.

Looking to explore positive psychology further with colleagues? Please join us for a workshop: We are Teachers! Positive Psychology in the Classroom, Wed. Oct 11 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. in FCPE Classroom – flyer attached.

*Any tips on positivity and teaching you’d like to share with your colleagues? Please email: cweida@adelphi.edu

*Still need a Fall service committee? Consider the Teaching & Advisement Committee – please contact Chair Dana Battaglia: dbattaglia@adelphi.edu or Lawrence Hobbie: hobbie@adelphi.edu .

The Senate Committee on Teaching & Advisement wishes all faculty a wonderful Fall semester! Please enjoy our first teaching tip of the year:

What makes a great teacher? This blog posts offers reflections on teaching approaches that make our teaching memorable.

On a related note, this post focuses online teaching practices.

*Any tips on great teaching you’d like to share with your colleagues? Please email: cweida@adelphi.edu

*Need a Fall service committee? Consider the Teaching & Advisement Committee – please contact Chair Dana Battaglia.

The Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement wishes you a wonderful end of semester and summer! Are you feeling a little overwhelmed by the prospect of grading final projects, papers, and/or exams? You might enjoy pausing a bit to reflect upon feedback itself. Will students evaluate one another in preparation for the final? Will any self-evaluation be useful to their growth? What kinds of feedback do they most need from you – describing their progress, next steps, connection to their careers, etc.?

Here are some additional tips for getting the most out of final exams.

*Do you have any teaching tips about assessment you’d be willing to share? Please email cweida@adelphi.edu.

This teaching tip invites you consider techniques and tools for focusing a distracted class. Whether digitally-based or due to more tangible factors, distractions can abound in the classroom. One professor we know creatively invites any students obviously engaged in cell phone usage to google a fact related to the class topic, take and upload a photograph to the course website, or kindly excuse themselves from the room a few moments if a text or email just can’t seem to wait.

How else can we get students to focus and use class time to their advantage? Please enjoy this Newsletter Link considering approaches like setting expectations early on, focusing on active learning to hold student attention, and learning student names to connect with them (and help them disconnect from distractions).

Do you have any teaching tips about distracted students you’d be willing to share? Please email cweida@adelphi.edu.

Searching for a Spring University service committee? We welcome new members!

Please contact chairs: Dolapo Adeniji-Neill and Dana Battaglia.

The Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement wishes you a happy New Year and great Spring 2016! This tip considers using an orientation video for your courses. Traditionally done for online courses, an introductory video can also be helpful in promoting a course, communicating during inclement weather/school closings, and/or clarifying content that was not addressed during a class meeting. Videos can be done on cell phones, through PowerPoint, with flipcams etc. Here is a blog post discussing the virtues of an orientation video, shared by Professor Dolapo Adenijii-Neill.

The Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement wishes you a wonderful Fall semester!

As you settle in for the first few weeks of classes, here’s a resource exploring goal setting. Once the syllabus is distributed and the class begins, what do your students hope to explore, understand, or accomplish within the class beyond basic requirements? Please enjoy this article with some interesting links on approaching the course learning process as a deeper sort of hero’s journey.

The Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement hopes you are hitting a good stride this semester. Professor Dola Adeniji-Neill shared this thoughtful reflection (and lovely poem by Tom Layman) on handling absenteeism and student make-up work. Here’s an excerpt and the link:

“Did I miss anything? . . .
Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder.
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been gathered
but it was one place
And you weren’t here”

*Do you have any start of semester teaching tips you’d be willing to share? Please email cweida@adelphi.edu.

**Missed a tip? Check out our archives.
***Searching for an interdisciplinary, friendly, teaching-focused University service committee? We welcome new members! Please contact chairs: Dolapo Adeniji-Neill: adeniji-neill@adelphi.edu and Dana Battaglia: dbattaglia@adelphi.edu.

The Senate Committee for Teaching and Advisement wishes you a wonderful start to the semester and many enjoyable teaching experiences!

Teaching Excellence winners Professor Judy Fenster and Professor Thomas Shinick share their insights on teaching from our recent workshop on teaching:

Professor Fenster aims to make her classroom a sort of laboratory for practice or “community of inquiry” where students can take chances, explore learning potential in ‘wrong’ answers, and safely examine their biases. She emphasizes relevance of curricula and constructivist learning practices.

Professor Shinick examined parallels and disconnects between team-based learning in universities and the daily activities of actual businesses. By utilizing news items and real-world scenarios in teaching, he encourages students to refine their skills in “writing, speaking, communicating, and negotiating.”

Luck of Teaching:
Wed March 4. 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Campbell Lounge, Room 2
Featured Teaching Excellence Winners:
Professor Judy Fenster and Professor Tom Shinick
Presented by the Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement

As a bonus, please enjoy this collection of teaching tips from the 2014 U.S. professors of the year. Their insights include suggestions for teaching like using local archives and historians, having students give demonstrations, and utilizing “think-pair-share” discussion methods in class:

Thinking of taking part in some team teaching? Check out some useful models and arrangements.

No time to collaborate in person? Explore some digital tools that can come to your aid.

Make the most of group work and learning in the collaborative classroom with some organizational strategies. Read more here.

Explore 101 ways to bring creativity into your teaching.

Consider flipping your classroom with some activities at home and more hands-on experiences in class.

Looking to personalize and maximize your course’s last few sessions? Try these reflection opportunities and rituals.

Or consider presentations and portfolios.

Do you have any creative teaching tips for the end of the semester you’d be willing to share? Please email cweida@adelphi.edu.

Missed a tip? Check out our archives.

Searching for a Spring university service committee? We welcome new members!

#28 Planning a Productive Summer
This resource explores how to have a productive summer, using the metaphor of the summer road trip to plan: Planning a Productive Summer

#27 Three Applications for Planning Classes
As the spring winds down, you might also make some notes toward planning your next course. The resource explores some apps and technologies to help: Three Applications for Planning Classes

#26 And Now, a Few Words By Way of Conclusion…
Here are some musings on ending your classes thoughtfully at the close of the year: And Now, a Few Words By Way of Conclusion…

#25 Professor Sean Bentley (Arts & Sciences) shares some teaching techniques

  • Emphasize public speaking and oral communication in your courses wherever possible.
  • Consider your learning tasks in terms of whether students need to memorize the material, practice a skill or procedure, or be able to locate the technology/tool needed to problem solve.
  • You may learn more about your students and their capacities and needs by taking on an advisory role for a student club or event outside of class.

#24 Professor Mark Fogel (Business) reflects on online and real world learning, along with group work in teaching:

  • If you cannot bring your students into the field during class time, take the real world into your classroom through expert guest lectures and various objects/examples that illustrate applied concepts from readings.
  • Try grouping students by similar ability and performance to encourage different roles (e.g. leadership development in a group of somewhat struggling students)
  • Embrace the lost art of written communication through student blogging.

#23 Professor Maggie Lally (Arts & Sciences) shares some teaching techniques from theatre:

  • Conceptualize your teaching in terms of relevance: cultivating curiosity and introducing life skills.
  • Challenge yourself to be nice but demanding; precise in your assessments of students.
  • As you richly explore your discipline, focus on both the process and the tangible learning outcomes.

#22 Adelphi Advising Tips
More Adelphi-specific advisement tips here: Adelphi Advising Tips

#21 Advising… how to get to know (and love) your students
This post explores the joys of advisement, such as reviving your passion for your field: Advising… how to get to know (and love) your students

#20 Advice on advising
This post explores the joys of advisement, such as reviving your passion for your field: Advice on advising

#19 Best Practices for Advising Graduate Assistants
This post explores the joys of advisement, such as reviving your passion for your field: Best Practices for Advising Graduate Assistants

#18 Professors of the Year Reflect
This teaching tip was shared by Senior Associate Provost of Academic Affairs, Audrey Blumberg. Professors of the Year discuss how they build community in the college classroom and use literary scenarios to improve student writing. Read more here: Professors of the Year Reflect on How Failures Helped Them Improve

#17 Connections Between Learning Goals and Teaching Approaches
How does your course outline/syllabus relate to your statement of teaching/teaching philosophy? Explore some possible connections here between learning goals and teaching approaches: Pedagogy Unbound: Two Birds, One Teaching Statement.

#16 How Teaching Can Serve Various Students
How can teaching serve not only struggling students, but also those who are prodigies? This blog post considers the roles of humility and humor in this sometimes challenging balancing act: How You Can Help the Genius in the Classroom.

#15 Awkward Silences as Teaching and Learning
Consider how awkward, uncomfortable silences early in the semester can become chances for better teaching and learning by exploring listening, thinking, writing and more: Sanctioning Silence in the Classroom.

#14 End-of-the-semester Review
Many professors find it helpful to take stock of the term and courses taught while all is fresh in one’s mind. Here are some discussions from other professors about documenting good ideas and improving strategies for future teaching: End-of-the-semester Review

#13 Grading Advice for the End-of-the-Semester Crunch
Another professor shares a collection of tips for meaningful end-of-semester grading: Grading Advice for the End-of-the-Semester Crunch.

#12 Final Workshops
As we approach final exams, consider conferencing/workshopping with students in order to get 1-on-1 time to help them plan for last assignments and exams. A professor blogs about how this can be useful: Final Workshops.

#11 Fresh Ideas for Teaching
This tip aims to provide some inspirations for the upcoming weeks. Looking for some fresh ideas for teaching with Kerouac, comic books, TED talks, and more? Check out this collection/carnival of teaching ideas: Teaching Carnival 5.10

#10 A Visual of Learning Theories
Here’s a great graphic found by our own School of Education advisor Marie Dettling, which visualizes major theories of learning: A Visual of Learning Theories

#9 Teaching What You Don’t Know
Do you find yourself teaching outside of your comfort zone or beyond your own areas of scholarship at times? This blog post gives some suggestions to aid you: Teaching What You Don’t Know

#8 Using Media and Technologies in Teaching
This article by a philosophy professor considers using media and technologies to teach a new course: Teaching a New Course

#7 Examining teaching through reflections
This teaching tip explores ways in which our teaching can be examined and improved through reflections on course evaluations, faculty mentoring, and peer observation.

Check out this link for a collection of approaches to precessing course evaluations, including how one might handle challenging evaluations, advantageous times to examine feedback, and ways of contextualizing this process to gain more meaningful results from students: Improve your Course Evaluations by having your Class Write Letters to Future Students.

#6 Faculty mentorship and teaching practice
This resource explores the role faculty mentoring can play in your teaching practice, by providing advice in the form of “rules” that are commonly helpful for junior faculty: #976 How to Succeed in the Academy: A Chair’s Advice to Junior Faculty.

#5 Peer Observation for Teaching
This link explores the benefits of peer observation for teaching, especially when observation is part of a reciprocal conversation about particular ideas and questions: A Pleasing Observation.

#4 60 Things about the Class of 2017
If you need a little humor and perspective about the challenges and joys of working with your students, here’s a list of 60 college mindsets you may encounter among the class of 2017: 60 Things about the Class of 2017.

#3 The Little Things that Count in Teaching
This link explores more specific time management tips before, during, and after class: The Little Things that Count in Teaching.

#2 Time Travel to Plan Your Semester
Then, imagine your semester month by month to conceptualize your course outlines beyond the syllabus: Time Travel to Plan Your Semester.

#1 Getting Ready for Teaching Your First Class
This first tip explores the early portion of the semester in terms of planning your teaching. Check out this new site for advice from several other professors addressing strategies for the first few days of class: Getting Ready for Teaching Your First Class

#9 Explore Critical Thinking in Your Teaching
This tip invites you to explore critical thinking in your teaching.

What is critical thinking really? Our last workshop explored this question among others. Here’s a link that expands on this topic with several samples of critical thinking at work in teaching, including sample assignments, syllabi, and rubrics.

This re-printed post from Tomorrow’s Professor investigates pitfalls in critical thinking activities, from students’ assumptions that critical reading is always negative, to their misconceptions that all critical writing is ideologically-biased.

These Chronicle editorials explore critical thinking in various disciplines through examples and discussions from professors: The Importance of Undisciplined Thinking & Critical thinking, visualization, and physical intuition.

#8 Teaching with Technology Tips
The Senate Committee on Teaching and Advisement would like to share these teaching with technology tips and an invitation to the Teaching, Learning & Technology Conference – Wednesday April 10 from 2-4pm in the Campbell Lounge.

#7 Teaching Tips Inspired by AU Colleagues
This teaching tip newsletter is inspired by AU colleagues. Our first teaching tip comes from Christopher Storm, a professor in the Mathematics Department who recently made a presentation on teaching, including asking students to pick out salient or interesting aspects of a reading to begin class discussion, and reframing frustrations in the learning process by reminding students of how they’ve succeeded in course challenges along the way.

This article similarly explores the balance of challenging and supporting students.

Another teaching tip comes from Matthew Wright, a professor in the Physics Department who also made a presentation on teaching suggestions including assigning students a group project that requires them to create a microlecture (or short educative video). Read more about microlecturing.

#6 Mid-Semester Teaching Tips

  • Is mid-semester malaise impacting you and your students? This blog post explores strategies for keeping your patience and encouraging students to do the same. Consider weekly assignments and review sessions. Read more ideas here.
  • This resource from Tomorrow’s Professor invites professors to maximize teaching planning time by using backward design/planning with the end result of the class in mind, developing rubrics for major assignments, and using rubrics or grading forms in the assignments themselves. More suggestions here.
  • Consider using real world connections, clear expectations, creative assignments, and enthusiasm to ease struggles of students juggling work commitments and school. More here.

#5 Beginning-of-Term Tips
The Senate Committee on Teaching and Advisement wishes you a wonderful Spring. To start off your Spring semester on a good foot, please enjoy some beginning-of-term tips:

  • For the first days of the semester, a philosophy professor encourages us to try to learn seven names at a time, listen carefully to what students are interested in getting out of the class, and set organizational classroom routines. More early semester tips here.
  • Learning students’ names can be challenging, but often proves worthwhile in connecting students with the curriculum. Ways to accomplish this daunting task quickly include reading your roster several times, using a seating chart, and photocopying IDs to study names and faces at home. Check out more tips for learning students’ names.
  • Finally, this link includes tidbits of inspirational advice from award-winning professors on topics like technology, rapport with students, and respect in the classroom.

#4 End of the Semester Tips
The Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement wishes you a wonderful holiday season! As the end of the semester nears, please enjoy some tips around winding down, relaxation, and rest for professors.

  • This link lists several activities for students and faculty to revisit course topics meaningfully towards the end of the course.
  • For busy professors, it can take time and practice to really relax on weekends and holidays. Read other professors’ musings and tips about creating and enjoying days of rest here.
  • This link provides encouraging advice to avoid burn-out to restore you over winter break, with suggestions such as limiting time on social media and working towards a balance of daily activities.
  • Comparing leisure activities with learning processes, this article considers parallels between university instruction and gaming, such as providing frequent feedback and justification behind activities.

#3 Teaching in the Aftermath of Sandy
The Senate Committee for Teaching & Advisement hopes you are safe and warm after the storms. This tip invites you to explore instructional technology and learning outside of class as part of your teaching, which perhaps will fit well with missed and/or non-traditional classroom make-up activities.

  1. Consider “flipped classroom” approaches, or using at-home activities that will extend into student- centered classroom learning such as group work. You might record a lecture or send a link to content online for homework, then have students interacting and/or making short presentations during class. The flipped classroom model is less of a “sage on the stage” and more of a “guide on the side” approach. Here’s a discussion forum with more suggestions on the Chronicle of Higher Education.
  2. Adelphi’s Faculty Center for Professional Excellence offers support on recording powerpoint lectures (just one step beyond creating a powerpoint), or perhaps recording a lecture to YouTube.
  3. If you’d like to include experiential education/extension activities for your students relating to your subject area and outreach for those impacted by the superstorm, check out some local options through AU’s Office of Student Involvement.
  4. From Professor Susan Eichenholz: Based on her work in the aftermath of Katrina and other catastrophic events, Denny Taylor has developed a set of recommendations for teachers and administrators that may be helpful in the wake of Sandy.
  5. Finally, if/when you feel weary: here’s an encouraging article exploring the roles of passion, motivation, resilience, and grit in the life of a professor.

#2 Techniques and Resources for Advisement
As Spring registration approaches, this tip invites you to explore various techniques and resources for advisement.

The link offers some suggestions for good advisement, such as keeping detailed files on advisees and collecting resources on other support services such as financial aid, the writing center, and counseling center.

Here’s a blog discussion of useful advisement resources from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Also, check out Adelphi’s own handbook on faculty advisement.

#1 Keeping Students Focused During Class
The Senate Committee for Teaching and Advisement wishes you a wonderful Fall semester! This first tip of 2012-2013 explores the challenges and joys of keeping students focused during class.

  1. This link from professors of English and Business provides suggestions for keeping students engaged during class time and also suggests factors of course material and instructor body language that can hinder engagement. Read more here.
  2. Sid Brown’s (2008) A Buddhist in the Classroom also proposes some interesting tips for getting your students’ attention:
    • “reconcile yourself to getting some attention… face your students, take a deep breath and let it out, work on a smile that is both authentic and welcoming
    • start class on time and thereby communicate to the students that every minute in the classroom is precious, every minute counts
    • discern a particular point or two you’re trying to make – either in your short lecture or during the class period. Then choose particular words/ideas to punch or emphasize and emphasize these points.
    • Make eye contact… with all students
    • Ask students questions frequently to make sure they are following you…
    • Use diagrams, drawings, pictures
    • Avoid talking longer than you need to…
    • Relate what you’re doing in class to what they are actually attending to”

(p. 17-18).

#13 End of Semester Survival Tips
Although this teaching tip has a traditionally unlucky number, it serves to wish you and your students the best of luck through the end of semester with some survival tips.

* Not feeling the rhythm at the end of your semester? Try focusing in on essential grading, making a daily to-do list, and working to eliminate non-essential digital distractions to experience some relief. More here.

* This article points out that some students with learning disabilities may experience end of semester panic and need support in areas like organizing, prioritizing, and asking for help. Read more here.

* Finally, Professor Hacker Blog comes to the rescue with some general suggestions for faculty about winding down, including updating your cv, posting an end of semester blog/announcement, and backing up your (moodle!) course.

#12 Explores Universal Design in Higher Education
Originally part of structural accommodations in architecture to allow access for people with disabilities, universal design can also be applied in teaching to reach those with disabilities and address diverse learning needs.

This checklist encourages professors to consider ways in which universal design can be brought to each aspect of teaching, from providing scaffolding tools (e.g., outlines, class notes, summaries, study guides, copies of projected materials with room for note-taking) to diversifying course activities (lectures, collaborative learning, small group discussions, hands-on activities, Internet based resources, educational software, and fieldwork). Read more here.

#11 Teaching with Digital Distractions
Courtesy of Cindy Arroyo, please enjoy some tips on teaching with digital distractions from Mark Bauerline’s recent lecture, Academic Engagement in the Digital Age:

  • Consider a balance of typing and writing of assignments to enhance student learning. Some students perform poorly when studying from typed notes and may ‘cut and paste’ without learning content.
  • Read, reflect, and revise: Develop activities that encourage students to slow down and invest more time and thought in their learning process.
  • Engage both information retrieval and knowledge. Consider carefully what course information can be quickly googled versus material to be reflected upon more critically.

For more ideas, check out this link.

#10 Using Rubrics in Teaching
The last Teaching and Advisement event addressed various approaches to using rubrics in teaching. This link includes more tips for making rubrics work effectively, including:

  • Using parallel language across various criteria
  • Employing student-friendly terms so they can understand and apply your feedback
  • Using descriptive language for clarity and specificity

Read more here.

This link is a collection of reflections about how rubrics can inspire educators and students, as a sort of “conversation” and “reflection tool.”

If you are interested in exploring various types of rubrics further, this resource may also be of use.

And thanks to Lawrence Hobbie, please also enjoy this link about balancing your time and efforts in teaching.

#9 Advice for the Advisers
TAs Spring 2012 advising starts up for faculty, this tip includes a quote and some resources to support your efforts. Enjoy!

“Advice is like snow; the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.”
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge

*Adelphi-specific links, suggestions, and goals for advisement

*Sample questions to ask advisees and agendas to maximize the advising session, such as following up with an advisee who’s having trouble midsemester to maximize time spent in scheduling sessions

*”Resources on more than 100 topics in advising, from Learning Styles to Working With Parents, Ethics to Generational Issues. NACADA is the National Academic Advising Association.”

#8 December 12, 2011 Reflect, Refresh, and Renew
This final teaching tip of 2011 invites you to reflect, refresh, and renew towards the end of the teaching semester. Happy Holidays and look for more tips in 2012!:

*Psychologists remind us that endings are important human learning experiences. This link provides some final course activity examples, such as providing a memento of important quotations for students, or discussing next steps for professional development in relation to the course and future professions. Read more at this link.

*There are many different ways to approach culminating course activities apart from a final exam – from presentations to portfolios, and reflections on what readings or activities to keep for future semesters.

*Some professors take some time during semester break to document and revise the courses they have just taught while the experience is fresh in their minds. More suggestions here.

#7 Coping with Academic Stress
As the end of the semester approaches, this teaching tip encourages reflection on teaching and stress. The book “Coping With Faculty Stress” describes generally successful de-stressing strategies for academics within 7 categories: social support, physical activities, intellectual stimulation, entertainment, personal interest activities, self/time management, and keeping a positive attitude.

Here are some additional ideas:

  • Time management tips for busy professors
  • A blog post of different coping methods for stress, including taking a quick nap, keeping to-do lists, and creating a checklist to streamline advising. Read more here.
  • A resource list of books for dealing with academic stress.
  • Here are some varied approaches to making the best of stress for professors and students.

#6 November 11, 2011 How Experiential Learning Opportunities Can Enhance Instruction
This tip invites us to explore how experiential learning opportunities can enhance instruction:

*Here’s an experiential learning resource including visual models and theories

*This blog post explores resources and examples of university collaborations with communities

*This article addresses the values of experience and place in learning, particularly in terms of exposure to diversity, research opportunities, community engagement, and chance encounters. Read more here.

#5 October 31, 2011 Exploring the Impact of Technology in Teaching
Happy Hallowe’en! This tip offers some resources and an event exploring the impact of technology in teaching:

This link discusses technology distractions in the classroom and strategies for overcoming them.

The Faculty Center for Professional Excellence offers many technology resources and approaches.

#2 September 20, 2011 Reflecting on Student Learning
With the semester underway, it may be a great time to think more deeply about teaching and learning for the upcoming weeks. Here are some tips for reflecting on student learning:

* Consider backward design in your teaching by starting with a goal you have for your students, devising how you will know students have reached/approached that learning goal, and then using those frameworks to shape the learning experiences planned. Read more discussion here.

* Explore generative topics in your teaching. These curricular themes are typically interdisciplinary, accessible, interesting to professors and students alike, and relatable to prior life experiences.

#1 September 8, 2011 Learning Student Names
The Senate Committee on Teaching and Advisement wishes you a wonderful semester. Our first teaching tip addresses learning student names in class, which poses a challenge for many professors. Some strategies that can help include: taking a photo of students or copying their IDs (with permission, of course) so you can review names and faces, and/or taking a moment to look at each name and face when taking your attendance, and/or reviewing names directly after you’ve seen and interacted with the students in class. It can also help to link a fact or concept with a person for better recall (e.g. Jennifer loves indie films, Bob takes ballroom dancing lessons, etc). Learning names can make a great icebreaker and/or slightly artistic activity in the case of name tags, UN-style name cards, etc. Some professors find that knowing student names can help with future interactions in terms of the classroom atmosphere, class discussions, and student engagement.

More resources here or here.

#14 May 3, 2011 End of Term Assessments
This final tip for 2011 invites us to explore useful aspects of student course evaluations. “After you look at them, put them with the rest of your teaching materials… Make sure to write down the implications of these evaluations for future classes. After the affective wave has passed–‘what do you know? they did/didn’t really hate me!’–you want to be sure to capture any useful data now, without having to re-review the evaluations later. [Also] write a paragraph about how you thought the class went. It will help refresh your memory when you go back and review the evaluations/syllabi later on.”

*Read more here: Five Things to Do With Evaluations Before the Summer Really Starts

Or check out more reflections on student evaluations here: When student evaluations are just plain wrong

And as a related bonus, here’s an article on techniques to avoid student “grade grubbing.”

#13 April 19, 2011 Integrating Technology into Teaching
Many of us may have technology on our minds after the AU Teaching With Technology Conference last week. The link here gives various detailed examples from The Professor Hacker Blog, exploring technologies infused into teaching. Highlights include using a course blog and web-based projects.

And finally, a directory of instructional technologies right here at AU at a glance.

#12 April 4, 2011 Explore Team-Teaching and Co-Teaching

#11 March 21, 2011 Games and Active Learning
Consider playing games as part of your teaching. One English professor uses role playing games as a model for keeping track of student grades, participation, and attendance. Others in the humanities create twists on Jeopardy! to help students study for midterms and finals by creating potential exam questions for the opposing team. Here are some more examples to explore for inspiration:

#10 March 8, 2011 Reflecting on Student Achievement and Making Information Useful
“Research has shown that there are two essential tasks to foster student achievement: help students see the relevance and importance of the information, and make it understandable. In fact, the dimensions of teaching that are the strongest correlates of student achievement are:

  1. preparation and organization;
  2. clarity of communication;
  3. perceived outcome of the instruction; and
  4. stimulating student interest in the course content . . .

Be a role model for learning how to learn (metacognition). You can exhibit skills that help students to see structure, to relate topics, and to organize information. When you do this kind of modeling, you provide a metacognitive assist. Students who follow your example are not only discovering what to learn, but how to learn it. A teacher who says, ‘This is how we approach a problem in our discipline’ or ‘This is how I would go about answering this question,’ is showing students a process that is transferable.”

Read more here.

#9 Tips from the Annual LOVE of Teaching Workshop
This collection of tips celebrates teaching and is compiled from the annual LOVE of Teaching workshop on February 14, 2011:

  • Teach what you love, teach what is new and challenging — Change it up!
  • Be “authentically human” in the classroom – tarry with borders, ambiguities, and risks to promote unexplainable and joyful responses.
  • Remember motivation as a factor in teaching and learning – and enjoy helping students to do the work of learning.
  • Embrace exploration: “curiosity stays”
  • Try open-ended questions and peer-to-peer teaching.
  • Don’t underestimate positivity and enthusiasm as teaching tools.
  • Try interweaving social, environmental, and personal aspects within curriculum.
  • Branch out with a new way to teach (e.g. with a new audience, making new connections with media)
  • Where possible, use a story or personal example, and make practical connections!
  • Reach out to a student who rarely (or never) participates.
  • Enjoy the interactions of teaching!
  • Focus on the positive, not “heartaches”
  • When your love of teaching is tested, step away, even travel/go away to challenge yourself in other areas, and/or work to plan the next activity so that it will be successful.

#8 February 11, 2011 Thoughtfully Structuring Your Teaching Time and Related Activities
To start off the New Year strong, check out this recent blog post that explores various ways in which academics can structure their time around the core goal of teaching. Suggestions include aligning goals with time mapping strategies. “Time maps are especially helpful for academics . . . because we often have more autonomy over our time than people in some other professions. When you’re not actually in the classroom or in a meeting, you get to choose what you’re doing: teaching prep? research? web surfing? A time map can help you figure out what works best for your own biorhythms and priorities, and make time for the things that matter.” See more here – including examples of useful schedules.

#7 January 28, 2011 The Seminar Approach to Teaching
Carefully structure and craft your seminar teaching through these tips:

  1. Introduce substantive points: A substantive point is one that is clearly a result of thoughtful reading and thinking about the assigned text and becomes the focus for group exploration lasting several minutes.
    • Identify essential issues or questions the text is discussing.
    • Point to the author’s main hypotheses, claims, and supporting arguments and evidence.
    • Point to important passages that need to be understood.
    • Explain the complexities faced in exploring this text.
    • Describe passages that are personally meaningful or connected to some shared experience.
  2. Deepen the discussion: Help the seminar process with individual contributions that lead the group to discover new insights and understanding of assigned readings.
    • Provide additional supportive quotes; explain relevance; ask clarifying questions.
    • Share the thought process that was personally used in developing an idea.
    • Paraphrase what the author means in a specific passage.
    • Summarize the arguments being presented.
    • Identify similarities and differences in positions being argued.
    • Challenge an idea or present an alternative interpretation.
    • Connect ideas from several participants or from other texts the group has read.
    • Formulate insightful questions that spark group response.
    • Introduce personal experiences that illuminate the text for others.
  3. Facilitate group exploration: Focus on what the group is accomplishing more that on individual students’ performance.
    • Help to identify the goals and format for the group process.
    • Keep the group on task.
    • Focus group back to the text.
    • Summarize for the group what has been discussed.
    • Bring closure to one point and make a transition to a new one.
    • Paraphrase someone’s comments, identify what you don’t understand, and/or formulate a specific question asking for clarification.
    • Encourage nonparticipants by being alert to who wants to speak, or who hasn’t spoken, and help them get the floor.
    • Indicate support by responding to a person’s ideas, or complimenting them.
    • Show active listening by means of nonverbal cues like eye contact, nods, and smiles.
    • Become aware when dominating the discussion and then modify behavior.
    • Defuse a tense moment with use of humor.

Read more.

#6 December 1, 2010 How Professors of the Year Inspire Student Learning
Check out the Higher Education Chronicle’s article spotlighting how Professors of the Year inspire student learning through field trips, problem solving, theatre exercises and more。

#5 November 9, 2010 Embrace Technology Or Go Back to Basics
This teaching tip invites you to embrace technology – or go back to basics in teaching. (Or both!)

  1. Try using a simple graphic display or curriculum map to make visible how your teaching goals relate to what students will evaluate, construct, create, solve, analyze, or describe. Read more here.
  2. Consider reclaiming colorful chalk as part of your curriculum – it has a lovely sense of line, a certain aesthetic quality in its marking and sounds, and it’s often easier to find than whiteboard markers: Read more here.

#4 October 26, 2010 Midterm Check-in and Working with Transfer students
Samantha Grabell, MSW Writing Specialist, has written of transfer students and their unique needs. She notes that at least 40% of undergraduate students have attended more than one college. Grabell found that at her school some of the probation and dismissal rates are higher for transfer students, and that some of these students showed a frequent “lack of interest in the course, and… feeling that they already knew how to be successful at college.” In some cases, she suggests that working not only as a professor, but in some ways within an advisor role may help reach challenged (or challenging) transfer students. One tip in doing this is having mid-semester check-ins or conferences to figure out difficulties early on, and then help match students with resources they may have overlooked.

Read more here.

#3 October 13, 2010 Tips from Our Teaching Excellence Award Winners
Our teaching excellence award winners had some terrific teaching tips to share at the last Teaching and Advisement event/Untenured Faculty Luncheon. Here are some highlights from Professors Robert Bornstein of Psychology, Jennifer Maloney of Art/Art History, and Lahney Preston-Matto of English:

  • Learn students’ names to build classroom rapport. Some techniques include copying student IDs, taking snapshots, or playing orientation/name games to jog your memory from name to face.
  • Read/review your syllabi with students so that they are clear on deadlines and objectives.
  • Where possible, work to embrace the habits of your discipline as part of classroom practice and assignments: practicing writing, drafting, viewing, and analyzing, etc.
  • Carefully consider the pacing of your class – When is demo needed? Where does debate fit in? What else? Enjoy!

#2 September 28, 2010 Motivate Students with Poster Sessions
Where possible, consider poster presentations or visual displays as a culminating assignment or capstone experience for courses, particularly where concrete information can be represented visually and in multiple, hands-on examples and manipulatives. As a professional opportunity, you can also encourage students to submit posters to conferences (including Adelphi’s Research Conference).

#1 September 14, 2010 Enliven Your Courses by Weaving Threads Through Your Teaching and Scholarship
From “‘Only Connect With Prose and the Passion’: Writing and teaching”:

“How and what we teach, how and what we write our journal articles about, the focus and content of our books, is largely self-determined. So when professors read their lectures from yellowed hand-scrawled pages or slightly updated PowerPoint presentations, I wonder if they’re doing both their students and themselves a disservice. OK, if the lecture is excellent, by all means, bring it on. But how can you expect to have new ideas for the publishing part of your career if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities that teaching new material offers? Believe me, I know how hard it is to develop new courses, and I don’t even teach large lecture ones. But even with the difficulties of finding time to prepare a new course, there’s an intellectual excitement in figuring stuff out, in educating oneself.”

*Read more here.

#16 April 22, 2010 Assess Students’ Understanding Along the Way
Assessment should drive instruction, not the other way around. If we find out our students do not understand what we are teaching until the final assessment, it is too late. So, instead of waiting, it is in the best interest of the students to assess their understanding along the way.

One way to quickly assess how students are doing is the “one-minute essay.” At the end of each class, the professor can ask: What is the big point you learned in class today? What is the one unanswered question you leave class with today?

Exit cards are another way to measure for understanding. With five minutes or so left at the end of class, professors can ask one question about the content or concepts from the day’s lesson. Students answer the question and hand their answer to the teacher as they “exit” the class for that day.

No matter the formative assessment, it is important to keep in mind that to measure for understanding requires transfer. Can the student use the ideas from your class and transfer them to a novel situation/reading/problem? Perhaps asking how what they are learning applies to last semester, their major, or their lives will provide a window into their thinking.

#15 February 12, 2010 Strategies That Help Engage Students As Active Learners
Are you looking for strategies that help engage students as active learners? How about ways to keep students focused on the lecture and not their iPhones. Well, try the following strategies:

  • Think-Pair-Share: Instead of asking a question and allowing one student to respond, have all students reflect on the question, discuss it with their neighbor and then call on students for responses.
  • Concept Tests: Provide students with a conceptual multiple choice question (restricted to the level of comprehension or application in Blooms Taxonomy) and have them explain to their neighbor why they think their answer is correct.
  • Question of the Day: At the beginning of class provide students with a question that focuses on the important points of that lecture. Encourage students to discuss the question and then write down their answers. Collect all the student responses.

The above strategies for interactive lectures were adopted from here.

#14 February 1, 2010 Teaching Suggestions for Starting Off the Semester
SOURCE: “101 Things You Can do the First Three Weeks of Class” By Joyce T. Povlacs

“*Collect students’ current telephone numbers and addresses and let them know that you may need to reach them.

*Find out about your students via questions on an index card.

*Seek out a different student each day and get to know something about him or her.

*Start the lecture with a puzzle, question, paradox, picture, or cartoon on slide or transparency to focus on the day’s topic.

*Stage a figurative “coffee break” about twenty minutes into the hour; tell an anecdote, invite students to put down pens and pencils, refer to a current event, shift media.

*Hand out supplemental study aids: library use, study tips, supplemental readings and exercises.

*Tell about your current research interests and how you got there from your own beginnings in the discipline.

*Take students with you to hear guest speakers or special programs on campus.”

#13 December 10, 2009 Tips for Grading
From: Stanford University’s Center for Teaching and Learning “Tips for Grading”

“*Before Grading
Announce grading policies before hand, and be sympathetic but firm. Decide with your teaching team how firm to be and on what constitutes an exception to the rules. As often as possible, try to get these grading guidelines in writing, for each assignment if necessary.

*Read a few assignments before you begin grading just to get a sense of the range and the ways students are responding to the assignment-if a substantial number of students are answering questions or presenting arguments differently than expected, your expectations or the answer key (in the case of an exam or problem set) may need to be re-worked.

*Survival Skill Tip: if you have a big stack of papers to grade (more than 30), pace yourself! Try to read no more than five papers a day so that you stay fresh and positive while grading.

*Consider which order to grade your papers…alphabetically? Randomly? With names covered to avoid bias? Average to good? Save the worst for last? The best for last? Problem students first? This may change over the quarter but be conscious of your methods and experiment to find out what works best for you.

*Grade when you’re in a good mood with energy and in a supportive environment. . . If necessary, when in a rush, sacrifice detailed comments rather than overall quality of grading.

*While Grading Papers and Exams:

  1. Make comments in pencil
  2. With papers, if you have time, read each paper the first time for content
  3. Read the paper through a second time for: analytical substance, argument structure, use of supporting material, quality of writing, persuasiveness, overall clarity, internal consistency, discerning between assumptions and value judgments vs. analysis and argument.”

#12 November 30, 2009 Tips for Better Teaching
SOURCE: Tips for Better Teaching. By Ted Hipple and Tricia McClam

“Good teachers seem to have a lot of different activities going on in their classrooms, not concurrently, of course, but over time. True, they lecture, they have class recitations. But they do a lot of other things too:

  • They have students give occasional oral reports, say of three or four minutes in length. These might open the class and lead in to the professor’s presentation.
  • They pause for what we’ll call the “instant group activity.” . . . A technique we’ve found is simply to move away from the lectern, approach the students, and say, “Please talk with me.” This courteous request usually elicits responses and it conveys to students a sense of, “Look, gang, we’re all in this teaching-learning business together; let’s help each other out.”
  • They vary the furniture arrangement if they can. If the chairs move, they move them, in a semicircle one day, rows another, a circle a third. And if they use seating charts, they change them every so often.
  • They bring in occasional guest speakers, a colleague in their field or someone from beyond the university’s walls, to provide variety in presentation and viewpoint …”

#11 November 12, 2009 People Your Ideas
SOURCE: 147 Practical Tips for Teaching Professors. By Robert Magnan.

“People your ideas.

Where do you get the ideas you present in your lectures? From Pasteur or Spinoza or Sartre or Euclid or Michelet or Dostoevski … So, put the words back into their mouths. Ok, maybe you don’t do voices. Tell stories, ‘live and in person.’ Try something like, ‘The year: 1665, the place: England, and a scientist named Issac Newton is watching the moon and wondering…’ When you present differing opinions, why not have the proponents argue among themselves or hold a panel discussion? Distinguish between characters through voices, or with hats, or by changing position or standing beneath names written across the board. That’s performing. The idea is basic: sometimes life dries out when it’s brought into the classroom. We should allow it to live as much as possible.”

#10 October 28, 2009 “Any questions?”: Generating Student Inquiry
“To help students answer their own questions, you need to first teach students to ask the right kinds of questions for the right purposes. Show students that questions can be structured around the types of information sought. For example,Bloom’s Taxonomy of the cognitive domain provides a categorization of thought processes from least to most complex; a good framework for posing questions at increasingly higher levels of understanding. Providing students with question stems will help them with this process. Another categorization of questions describes questions as input (requiring recall of facts or derivations from sensory data); processing (requiring the drawing of relationships among data); or output (requiring students to hypothesize, speculate, create, generalize, evaluate). Once students understand that they need to identify what it is they want to know, they can then select the appropriate questions to ask.

Because generating their own questions will be new to most students, they will need encouragement. You can help students feel comfortable asking questions if you create an environment in which inquiry is not only accepted but fostered. By modeling the questioning process and scaffolding student discourse you can mold students’ actions, interactions, and thought processes. One way to begin would be to have students write questions prior to studying a new topic, performing a new task, or taking part in a new activity. Ask them to use the question stems to write a question at each level of thought. Use the students’ questions to guide investigations, activities, or discussions. During these, have students think about particular questions and seek answers through their interactions with the teacher and other students. Afterwards, have students reflect upon the questions they asked to determine if the questions helped them learn. At this time, too, have students write new questions based on their prior questions and the teaching/learning activities.”

SOURCE: This week’s tip is brought to you by Nancy McClure of Fairmont State College: Fairmont, West Virginia via Stanford University’s Tomorrow’s Professor Blog.

#9 March 17, 2008 “Principle of Charity”
This week’s teaching tip was submitted by Konstantina Myrianthopoulos of the Department of Psychology here at Adelphi University. The Teaching and Advisement Committee loved her tip and we are proud to share it with the campus community.

“Spend some time with students talking about the “principle of charity.” I notice that students are quick to judge and criticize a theory or new idea, without having an adequate understanding of the specific theory. When reading a new theory or idea we should try to suspend our beliefs, tolerate ambiguity, withhold judgement and seek to understand rather than seeking contradictions and difficulties.

Any theory or new idea can be critiqued but we should read and listen as if we had no personal attitudes so that we remain open, receptive and then we will be able to absorb and understand the new information. Once an adequate understanding is achieved, new ideas and theories can be critiqued.”

#8 February 27, 2008 Conduct a Mini-Lecture on “How to Read.”
Most students don’t really know how to read a book. It seems like such a simple thing to a faculty member. The sheer volume of our reading forces us to learn how to effectively read and note the main points. Students, on the other hand, tend to approach a book in a linear fashion, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, from beginning to end.

Consider including a mini-lecture on reading various kinds of books. Give instruction on how to: read the chapters, identify the main points, take notes while reading, and how to highlight. You might also include how to skim the beginning and end of chapters, use the sub-headings, or understand tables and illustrations.

Within the first few weeks of classes, have students read a single chapter and bring in the highlighted text and annotated notes they have taken on the reading. Either in small groups or individually, check to see if they are highlighting the entire page (most common student error), or, incorrectly identifying the main points of the reading.

By teaching the students to critically read, class discussions can be richer, and the student is encouraged to really “own” the material they are reading.

#7 December 17, 2007 Slam Poetry
This teaching tip is from teacher and award-winning Slam Poet–Taylor Maki. He speaks about his experience teaching in the lower grades, but his message resonates for all of us who teach.

Taylor Maki on ‘What teachers make’

What is Slam Poetry?

Slam poetry is a form of performance poetry that occurs within a competitive poetry event, called a “slam”, at which poets perform their own poems that are “judged” on a numeric scale by randomly picked members of the audience.

Taylor Mali is considered to be the most successful poetry slam strategist of all time, having led six of his seven national poetry slam teams to the finals stage and winning the championship itself a record four times before anyone had even tied him at three. Mali was one of the original poets to appear on the HBO original series “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.” He was also the “golden-tongued, Armani clad villain” of Paul Devlin’s 1997 documentary film “SlamNation,” which chronicled the National Poetry Slam Championship of 1996, the year of Mali’s first national team championship.

#6 October 9, 2007 One-Minute Evaluations
This week’s Teaching Tip is brought to you by the Senate Committee on Teaching and Advisement and the Scholar as Teacher from the McGraw Center at Princeton University.

Whether you try a new approach or not, you may find it helpful to end the class with a one-minute evaluation.

The “one-minute paper” is an exercise in which you ask students to take a moment at the end of class to write down a key point from the lecture or the discussion or identify a question they still have. Perusing these comments can help you determine if students are where you want them to be at that point in the class. Start the next class with responds to students comments or questions briefly during the next class.

The “one-sentence summary” exercise asks students to summarize a key concept, method, or reading in one sentence by responding to a question, such as, “What is the author arguing?” “What is the cause/result of this process?” These short writing exercises may reveal students misconceptions or struggles with the material.

Students can hand these in anonymously, or with their names.

#5 April 30, 2007 Learn From Your Successes
This week’s tip is brought to you by the Faculty Senate on Teaching and Advisement and The Princeton University McGraw Center on Teaching and Learning.

As we near the end of the semester, here is a reflective teaching tip:

Every time we teach a course, we learn something more about how students learn in our disciplines.

Although we may think that we’ll remember these insights after the semester ends, it is worth while to write down our thoughts while they’re fresh. So after the semester’s activities subside but before the memory fades, to take a few moments to compile your insights, successes, and missed opportunities from this semester. Doing this now will help you teach more effectively and efficiently next time. A structured process is to review the syllabus at the end of the semester and note in what lectures the students were fully engaged, and in what lectures did they seem distant. Or you could do it in a free form.

For a more interactive method — if your course has Lab Instructors or Teaching Assistants, invite them to your office for an end-of-the-year thanks and the chance to find out from them where the students seemed strong and confident, and where they asked for more explanation.

#4 April 10, 2007 Try Sharing Your Thought Process To Encourage a Dynamic dialogue
During a lecture, when you are making a particularly challenging observation or drawing a conclusion based on evidence, pause and share with your students what they should be asking themselves:

  • How can I make a claim like this?
  • Where could I find alternative or conflicting ideas about this issue?
  • What’s another way to make this argument or test this hypothesis?

I combine this method with theatrics. I save a front row seat in my classroom, and after I make a bold statement, I sit down in the seat and “heckle” myself from the audience.

For example, in the last workshop on Active Teaching for faculty, I began by saying “Active teaching engages students and improves teaching”. Then I sat down in the classroom seat and said loudly: “No, active teaching wastes time and is not what students come for. They come to hear you teach.” From there the faculty could begin a real dialogue about the pros and cons of active teaching.

#3 Feb 26, 2007 Consider Outlining Your Lecture On The Board
Brought to you by the Berkeley Compendium

An engineering professor says “I prefer to use the outline method from the start, I put up my outline before class begins, I think this emphasizes the importance of major ideas better because they are revealed in the beginning of the lecture, and the students can follow, and know where we are in the lesson.”

Whereas a professor in the biological sciences says that she outlines her lectures on the board as she goes along. On a separate section of the blackboard she also writes down any technical terms or names of scientists that the students might not know how to spell.

“The outline serves to reinforce visually what I am saying,” she explains. “Furthermore, it makes clear to everyone where we have been and where we are going. An added bonus is that writing the outline on the board as I go along slows down my lecture pace: it serves as an automatic `brake’ and keeps me from racing through the material.”

#2 Feb 12, 2007 Borrow Your Students Lecture’s Notes
Brought to you by the Berkeley Compendium on Teaching.

Periodically try borrowing lecture notes from several students. You can review them for a short time before class begins, or after class.

The best way to select students’ notes is at random. Faculty members who have used this technique warn that it can be a very chastening as well as useful experience. “There was an incredible difference between what I thought I had said and the points I thought I had stressed, and what the students heard or felt was important to write down,” one faculty member reported.

#1 Jan 20, 2007 Using Slides, Maps or Handouts
Brought to you from Harvard University:

When using slides, maps or handouts, ask the students what they see before you tell them what you see. Doing this helps students think about a problem as you introduce it.

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