Get Smart: Crafting SMART Learning Goals

If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. This folksy adage likely holds true for many aspects of teaching just as it holds true for life. 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 …

Answers to Key Questions on Designing Effective Online Discussions

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: Teaching for All to Learn

Inclusive teaching is pedagogy through which instructors strive to support and engage all students, regardless of their backgrounds, identities, or abilities. It is a pedagogical approach in which instructors recognize and affirm that a student’s differences are inherently connected to teaching and learning processes. They then work to create a learning environment in which all students can learn from the …

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 …