Augustana Center for Teaching and Learning
Articles available in the April issue of The Teaching Professor
Unique Perspectives on a Shared Classroom Experience
By Dena McMartin and Yvonne Petry, University of Regina, Regina, SK, Canada
In fall 2007 I took my first undergraduate course in about 12 years and in a subject I hadn’t studied since high school. I’m an engineer and I enrolled in one of Dr. Petry’s history courses. We decided to write about this classroom experience from our perspectives—McMartin as a faculty-student and Petry as an instructor with a colleague student in her course.
What Textbook Reading Teaches Students
By Tracey E. Ryan, University of Bridgeport, CT
“Do we really need to buy the textbook? It’s so expensive!” “Can’t you just summarize it for us?” “Would you just tell us what parts will be on the exam?” “It was so long and so boring. I couldn’t get through it!” Quotes like these indicate that many of our students want us to help them with the hard work of extracting difficult material and new vocabulary from their textbooks. They may use the term “boring,” but what they really mean is difficult and time consuming. In turn, we sometimes fall into the trap of summarizing the textbook in our lectures and our PowerPoint presentations. Quotes like these indicate that many of our students want us to help them with the hard work of extracting difficult material and new vocabulary from their textbooks.
Creating a Mindset for Collaboration
By Roxanne Cullen, Ferris State University, Michigan
Because we know that active engagement in collaborative projects can create a synergy among students that often surpasses what can be learned individually, we find ourselves designing assignments that create opportunities for students to collaborate and learn from one another. Also, the ability to work together in teams is a skill needed in today’s workforce. So for many reasons, assignments that foster collaboration have become essential parts of a well-designed course.
How to Conduct a ‘Paper Slam’
By Stephanie Schlitz, Bloomsburg University, PA
Last year, I attended a digital humanities conference at which the highlight was something called a “Poster Slam.” I’d never heard of a “Poster Slam” and had no idea what to expect. It turned out to be a conference session devoted to sharing information about the various posters that would be on display during the poster session.
Sources of Power
Communication educators have taken a well-known typology of power and applied it to teachers. According to this theory-based schematic, individuals exert influence over other individuals based on five different sources of power.
Helping Students Use Their Textbooks More Effectively
By Tiffany F. Culver, Delta State University, and Linda W. Morse, Mississippi State University
Most college students spend little time reading their texts. There’s research to confirm that, but most of us don’t need to look beyond our own classrooms for confirmation. In our case we sampled the undergraduates we teach and they reported that on average they spend 1.88 hours a week reading the required text. The hours reported by first-year students were even less—1.54 hours. Our upperclassmen, primarily educational psychology majors, reported a mean of 2.21 hours each week.
Online Grade Books: Surprising Accomplishments
By Tom Schrand, Philadelphia University, PA
I started using an online grade book (a central feature of any course management system) as a convenience for myself. Here, finally, was a grade book that couldn’t get lost or stolen, and it would be automatically backed up by the IT department every night. The accumulated scores could also be downloaded directly into a spreadsheet for calculation of grades, a shortcut that reduced the possibility of errors. At the same time, however, using an electronic grade book took something that had previously been my private domain and opened it up for every student to inspect. This aspect of the technology challenged me to rethink some of my teaching policies.
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