How to use Learn By Writing Exercises in Your Class

We write for many different reasons. Blogging, reporting, journaling, playwriting, scientific writing, opinion writing, recipe writing, songwriting, creative writing, writing for social media—the list of examples could go on and on. Even texting or emailing with friends and family is a near-constant form of writing we may take for granted. Writing is a form of expression, but it can also …

Exploring Schema in Your Class: Techniques to Activate Prior Knowledge

No student enters the classroom as a blank slate. Each has prior knowledge, also known as background knowledge, which informs their approaches to and understanding of new material and new experiences. Prior knowledge is the accumulation of everything a student has learned, through both formal and informal means. We can help students better understand new material by activating their prior …

Encouraging Students to Read for Understanding

Reading is a fundamental skill that many of us take for granted, particularly in academia, yet it is essential to student success in and out of the classroom. However, as Thorndike wrote in 1917, reading can be as complex as solving a complex equation: Understanding a paragraph is like solving a problem in mathematics. It consists of selecting the right …

Encouraging Metacognition: Helping Students Learn How to Learn

College and university students are regularly asked to learn a great deal of content and many skills in their courses, but the learning processes involved are rarely considered or managed on their own. For example, students can find it incredibly difficult to recognize learning gaps or misunderstandings when learning a new concept or process. They don’t always plan out their …

6 Ways to Help Students Transfer Learning to New Contexts

As college teachers, we want students to be able to take what they have learned and apply it in a different context. This phenomenon is called the Transfer of Learning, and it involves the application of skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes that were learned in one situation to another learning situation. Every student can benefit from learning in a way that …

Developing Effective Learning Goals in College Classes

Much of the literature about teaching and learning stresses that teachers should articulate their learning goals as well as their objectives and outcomes. Learning goals allow you and your students to focus on what they are supposed to learn. When learning goals are explicit, they will guide students’ decisions on where to focus effort as well as to illuminate what …

7 Steps to Help Students Care About Learning During a Time of Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic and its surrounding political climate find us all in a time of crisis. Teachers and students alike are often caring for family members, friends, and themselves. That students are doing so while continuing their studies demonstrates that they do care, and they likely care deeply, for the people in their lives. But with the distractions brought about during this time of …

From PCK to TPACK: Essential Knowledge for Teaching Online

Few of us have had formal opportunities to learn about teaching online. As a result, we often lack a full understanding, or even a good practical sense, of the look, pacing, and feel of an online course. But to teach online well, we need such knowledge. Lee Shulman, educational psychologist and former president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement …

8 Time Management Tips for Online Teaching

There is a rhythm to teaching in higher education. We work within semesters, quarters, or terms that last a set number of weeks. Within a given term, we teach in chunks of time, with classes lasting 50 minutes, 3 hrs, 8 hrs, or other increments, often designated by the number of credit hours they are worth. Teaching online requires reconsidering …

6 Strategies for Building Community in Online Courses

Sometimes, a group of students in a given class just seems to gel. They connect, work well together, and encourage and support each other. Sometimes a group of students does not gel. They barely interact, they don’t work together, and while they may not actively discourage each other, encouragement is not exactly forthcoming either. It can be difficult to determine what causes …