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Small Teaching Tip #13: Building Stronger Learning Communities

In higher education, teaching is often perceived simply as the transmission of knowledge and that can contribute to our focus on content delivery at the expense of other elements of effective teaching.  Educational philosopher John Dewey argued that effective teachers do more than deliver content to their students.  They also value learning by doing rather […]

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Small Teaching Tip #12: Spice Up Your First Day of Classes

Take a moment and envision the first day of classes. Does it resemble the following? introduce yourself hand out your syllabus tell students which textbook to buy ask them to introduce themselves call it a day Many faculty do just this, letting a golden opportunity pass them by. I get it.  The first day of […]

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Small Teaching Tip #11: The Benefits of Peer Teaching

When we ask students to work in groups or turn to their neighbor to discuss course content, many of us wonder whether this kind of collaboration is worthwhile.  Students aren’t experts, so could they be teaching each other incorrect information?  Or perhaps what they discuss is superficial or watered down?  Not to mention the drama […]

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Small Teaching Tip #9: Self-Care Strategies for Faculty

For most faculty (and students), the end of the semester is an exhausting race to the finish.  Endless cups of coffee, maybe even a Red Bull or two, sustain you through grading marathons and conversations with students that begin with “I really need an A.”  Once you surface for a breath of fresh “I just […]

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Small Teaching Tip #8: The Problem with Student Course Evaluations

We are rapidly approaching the end of the semester.  Soon, faculty will receive the results of their course and teaching evaluations. . . Well, perhaps it’s more accurate to say some will receive evaluations of their teaching.  Many more will receive evaluations of their personality, wardrobe, voice, sense of humor, and physical attractiveness. . . When […]

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Small Teaching Tip #7: Allow Yourself to Be a Beginner

This week’s Small Teaching Tip is less of a tip and more of an observation and some encouragement. . . As an instructional technologist, I support faculty’s endeavors to expand their teaching repertoires.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve discovered that many faculty are hesitant to try new technologies or teaching strategies. For some, […]

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Small Teaching Tip #6: The Benefits of Frequent Quizzing

In a previous post, I discussed the important role memory retrieval plays in learning.  To briefly review: each time we recall a piece of information, we strengthen the neural pathways that move the information from our long-term memories to our working memories.  So the more times we retrieve the information, the more deeply we learn it. […]

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Small Teaching Tip #5: Make Group Work More Efficient with Google Apps

Collaboration and project management are important skills for college students to learn.  Unfortunately, many students grumble about group work and faculty spend too much time managing logistics.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there were tools that could make in-class group work more efficient and productive? I have a possible solution for you!  Google Apps! All […]

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Small Teaching Tip #3: The First Five Minutes of Class

The crux of a class period, and perhaps the most challenging to plan, are the beginning and ending.  Unfortunately, these are the two parts of a lesson that faculty typically devote the least amount of attention.  Often, the first few minutes of class are spent taking attendance, setting up technology, or rattling off reminders.  This […]

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Small Teaching Tip #2: The Minutes Before Class Begins

Many of us arrive to our classrooms without time to spare.  We then concentrate on taking attendance, turning on the computer and projector, or reviewing our lecture notes. Meanwhile, our students sit silently, gazing at their phones.  We may not consider the minutes before class begins as consequential, but they offer a fertile opportunity to get […]

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