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.
As Henry Ford once observed, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” His perceptive remark neatly summarizes an important principle that applies to teaching. The best way to lead students to expect success is to structure the course so that they can succeed, and then demonstrate throughout the course that they will succeed if they work hard and persist even when the going gets tough.
Whether created with PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, or another program, slide decks appear to be the current default format for any type of oral presentation. The disadvantage of automatically adopting this standard approach, however, is that many people have grown tired of slide presentations, especially poorly executed ones. Slide Replacements can provide greater flexibility when creating your own form.
One of the most difficult challenges faculty face in a collaborative classroom is how to grade students. The fundamental issue is that individual and group accountability seem to be at odds with each other. Tradition holds that a student’s individual course grade should reflect an accurate evaluation of that student’s work and should not be influenced by the performance of
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
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.
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.
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
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
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