CrossCurrents is an electronic publication that offers articles on a wide range of topics related to teaching and learning in higher education. Through engaging content that encourages exploration and reflection on best practices, innovative pedagogies, and emerging trends in higher education, we try to help college teachers successfully navigate the challenges they face in today’s complex classroom.
Imagine attempting to learn archery while blindfolded. You take aim and shoot, but without visual feedback, you wouldn’t know how close your shot came to hitting the bullseye. Indeed, you would likely have only a vague idea of whether you hit the target at all. Feedback is critical in developing new knowledge and skills. Students today have multiple ways to
Group work has many benefits to students and student learning, but it also has its challenges. Most common problems can be avoided if you put in the effort and take the time to plan carefully. One of the early steps to take into consideration as you prepare is how to form groups. There are many decisions to make, and the
Research demonstrates that in a typical college classroom, most teachers pose a question and then wait less than one second for students to respond. As you might imagine, there are significant challenges with this practice. Allowing students such a short processing time almost guarantees you will not receive carefully thought out responses. It also promotes a classroom dynamic in which
Teachers and students alike know that lectures can be boring. The following quip, widely attributed to Albert Camus, elegantly captures this sentiment; “Some people talk in their sleep. Lecturers talk while other people sleep.” Yet we – and students – have also experienced situations in which we sat mesmerized as we listened to an exceptionally captivating lecturer. While few of
According to surveys, two of the main concerns of most students on the first day of class are whether they will like the instructor and how well they will get along with their classmates (Provitera-McGlynn, 2001). The first days of the semester establish the tone for the next weeks. According to Cavanaugh (2016), “On the first few days of class
The best teachers want the highest possible number of students in their classes to learn from their instruction. Read on to learn how the principles Universal Design for Learning can assist in developing an inclusive class, and removing learning hurdles that students may encounter.
Just as effective public speakers acknowledge the importance of knowing their audience, so do effective college teachers understand the importance of knowing essential characteristics about their students. Students’ intellectual, social, and emotional traits influence the effectiveness and efficiency of their learning. Understanding these characteristics helps ensure a good fit between what you are trying to teach and what students are
While identifying goals for our courses may not always be on the top of our to-do lists, clarifying where we are going helps us to determine how we will get there and how we will know when we have arrived. In this blog, we focus on setting SMART Lecture-Learning Goals that can help you clarify what you want students to learn from a single lecture.
Designing effective online discussion boards can be a challenge. While some discussion boards can be fruitful grounds for conversation, others fall flat and feel forced and stale. The design of the board is critical to ensuring a successful online conversation. During the design process, we encourage you to consider the following questions. 1. What learning goal do you want students
Inclusive teaching is not easy. It means digging deeper into why imbalances in participation, success, and completion exist. To adopt inclusive pedagogy, instructors necessarily engage in examining their own bias and awareness. In this article, we consider our responsibility, as educators, to practice inclusive teaching, and cover various techniques and methods for doing so.
For years we have acknowledged that college teaching has gotten tougher, but the abrupt shift to remote teaching in response to the COVID-19 pandemic presented instructors with even more challenges. As colleges and universities struggled to deal with the crisis in the spring of 2020, some professors had only a week’s or even a weekends’ notice to restructure their classes
It’s common knowledge for any educator who has taught online that it can be a significant challenge for students who are learning online to develop feelings of connection with their peers and teacher. Feelings of isolation when learning online have been around for as long as online learning has existed. In this article, we examine three key ways to combat that sense of isolation and encourage meaningful peer interaction.