Reflecting on Remote and Online Teaching: Making Meaning and Moving Forward

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 …

Meaningful Peer Interaction: Combatting Isolation in Online Courses

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. Instead, students can easily feel isolated and alone in online learning spaces (Blackmon & Major, 2012). This sense of isolation can add new challenges to students’ engagement …

Blended Learning: 7 Steps to Success

As colleges and universities look for new ways to improve both student learning and the student experience, blended courses are becoming increasingly common. A combination of onsite and online instruction, there is no single approach to blended learning. With any definition, the key to blended learning is the combination of onsite and online instruction. Educators in different geographic regions have …

5 Tips for Using Final Projects in Your Class

Months of lectures, activities, group projects, quizzes, readings, and more typically culminate in an end-of-term evaluation. It may be tempting to slip into the default “review for final exam” mode as a term comes to a close as tests can be worthwhile for student learning and retention (see 8 Benefits of Frequent Quizzing and Testing.) However, final projects can prove …

8 Benefits of Frequent Quizzing and Testing in Your College Class

Few things strike fear in the hearts of students as much as tests, especially when knowing they will be used for summative assessment. Test anxiety aside, quizzes and tests can actually help students learn course content. Research demonstrates that the testing effect, which is sometimes called test-enhanced learning or retrieval practice, has a greater impact on student learning than simply …

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 …

4 Strategies to Help Students Organize Information

Humans are more likely to remember information that is patterned in a logical and familiar way. Furthermore, the act of organizing information is a helpful aid to human memory (Bailey & Pransky, 2014; Sprenger, 2002; Tileston, 2004). It is no surprise, then, that organizing information is a useful skill for students as well as an activity that can help to …

The Benefits and Challenges of Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a method of generating ideas and sharing knowledge to solve a  problem.  The defining characteristics of a good brainstorming session are when participants are encouraged to gather ideas spontaneously and to think without interruption.  When done as a group, people typically collectively agree upon a solution after all the ideas are brought forth and discussed, but it can also …

Tips to Encourage Better Note-Taking in Your Class

“Is this going to be on the test?” 

Many of us have heard this question posed as students wonder aloud whether a new point or idea should be included among their notes. But how should it be answered?

4 Ways to Improve Your Online Teaching

At the K. Patricia Cross Academy, our mission is to support faculty with easily accessible online teaching resources. As instruction is increasingly accomplished in an online environment, this edition of CrossCurrents is focused on highlighting some of the previous resources we’ve made available to instructors to aid in their development of successful, high-impact approaches to online teaching.