Quick IDEAs for Better Teaching

A collection of our ongoing IDEAs for faculty


September 2018

A few weeks into the new semester, and hopefully, things are on a roll for you. The question is, are things on a roll for your students? As you well know, when students get behind in a course, things can get out of hand quickly. Like a rock rolling down a hill--getting faster and picking up other things along the way--once a student feels left behind, they can easily get discouraged and give up. The reality in many cases is that this scenario can be prevented with the right kind of effort applied in the right places. But students often need help with this.

As you move forward into the heart of your courses, then, it is important to consider if all your students are on track or not so you can intervene soon. One way to find out is to be sure you are using assessments early-on. A midterm exam is too late to find out if students are not learning. But assessments do not have to be full-blown exams. They can simply be short quizzes, clicker-based questions in class, or other Classroom Assessment Techniques. If you do not have some kind of evidence that students are “getting it,” then you only have your intuition to guide you. It’s all too common that the student who nods and smiles at you during class is not actually getting it, but is just a nice person!

Getting students to think about and evaluate their own learning is another useful way to intervene early in the semester. Read more...


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