Active Engagement: The New Currency for 21st Century Learners

Marla J.Thompson, Department of Business Life University Educators have the opportunity to improve the student experience by incorporating contemporary culture and real life experiences into the core curriculum.  This is particularly noteworthy considering the findings in Toppo’s (2015) recent USA TODAY article, noting reasons that impact students’ inability to learn.  For example, Toppo notes work… Continue Reading

All Learning is an Active Process: Rethinking Active/Passive Learning Debate

In this Scholarly Teacher Blog Todd Zakrajsek (Associate Professor, University of North Carolina) a long-time supporter of active and engaged learning proposes that it is time to differentiate passive learning from being in passive environment. Arguing that all learning is active, this blog suggests how to maximize learning in both active and passive environments. Continue Reading

Stop Assigning Team Projects…Unless…

Potential employers look for and expect our graduates to successfully carryout team work and collaborative efforts. This, plus the potential educational benefits of working collaboratively, prompts many faculty to use group work and teams in their classes. However, if students are not purposefully taught how to succeed as a member of a team or group they are rarely as effective as they could be. Erik Eddy, Siena College, and Carolyn D’Abate, Skidmore College examine how faculty teach students the differences between working alone and woking in a team. Suggestions for improvement success with team projects is offered. Continue Reading

A Moment, Unplugged:  Facilitating Contemplative Practice in the Classroom

We all agree it is imperative that we teach our students content knowledge and ways of thinking within our respective disciplines. Additionally, we can also teach our students many important ancillary concepts to help them be successful both in academics and in life. One vital area in which students need assistance in this media-filled landscape is how to focus attention. In this Scholarly Teacher Blog Cheryl Hoy, Amanda McGuire Rzicznek, Elizabeth Zemanski, and Cheryl Lachowski (Bowling Green State University) share what they have learned about facilitating contemplative practice. There is so much in life to distract students (much by design), it seems valuable at this time to teach them how to focus their attention. Continue Reading

Become a Teaching Rockstar: Simple Techniques to Motivate and Engage Students

At most universities, teaching required courses that are not discipline specific can be challenging, especially when the required courses are demanding. Students more often than not have heard the horror stories of how difficult certain classes can be and they start the semester with a sense of dread and apprehension that can severely undermine the chance for student engagement and critical thinking. In this blog, Gladys Childs (Texas Wesleyan University) provides several strategies to overcome barriers in the classroom to increase student engagement and motivation. Continue Reading

Backward Design as a Way Forward

Starting a process by thinking about the goal desired seems common in life, yet relatively uncommon in education. In this blog Todd Zakrajsek (UNC – Chapel Hill) briefly describes the process of Backward Design. The goal is to think, and teach, consistently with the “end in mind.” Continue Reading

Flipping Very Large Classrooms: Embracing the Controlled Chaos

Flipping a classroom requires thoughtful planning and organization to set up the course work for success. Information must be pre-loaded and accessible for student self-directed learning and feedback must be timely to keep students actively engaged. Amanda Brindley Holton (UC Irvine) addresses what tools and tips worked for her when flipping classes with more than 100 students enrolled. She also includes a few tools she utilizes successfully to promote faculty organization and student engagement. Continue Reading

Learning About the Brain and the Effect on College Students’ Study Strategies

For all their learning, most students (and faculty members) fail to think about the learning process. In our roles as academic advisors and classroom instructors, we have the opportunity to promote good study habits and tips for success with students. Along with content of the course, we can help students to be successful by teaching them to think about the process of learning. Deborah Brown (West Chester University) provides a succinct guide listing habits we can encourage students to cultivate that promote success and well being. Continue Reading