This Professor Likes CATs (classroom assessment techniques)

I am going to write about measuring teaching effectiveness. There is a lot of buzz about metrics in higher education media, but not until the mind-meld app is released for iOS will teachers know what their students are thinking. One of the challenges of teaching a large-enrollment course is to regularly determine the level of students’ learning. […]

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Students’ Opinions Instruction are In! Now What?

Sometimes there is a considerable difference between a professor’s evaluation of a course and those of the students. The divergence can work in either direction. Perhaps a “terrible” experience for the professor was “absolutely brilliant” for the students. Let’s be honest, however: the opposite situation is difficult news. What are the next steps when a professor […]

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A ‘Hipster’s’ Introduction to Religion

In “A ‘Hipster’s’ Introduction to the Study of Religion,” Nathan Loewen talks about his approach to teaching REL 100 and the academic study of religion: My class sessions are structured as active learning based critical inquiries into how public and scholarly discourses deploy grammar and terms to frame “religion,” where examples from the everyday interact with those […]

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Something’s in the Way: Struggling Students in Large Courses

Since it is almost Thanksgiving, many students will be leaving UA for home, where they will inevitably be asked, “So, how are things going?” Here is a short story about a student who dropped by my office this term: Last week, a distraught student stopped by my office to ask about withdrawing from my class […]

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My Students are Not Missing the (Power) Point

I met Ollie Dreon at The Teaching Professor Technology Conference last week, thanks to a travel grant from CCS. His recent blog post, “Hating on PowerPoint: My Take,” confirms that I am doing the right thing this term. My 153-student REL 100 course makes no use of that now-ubiquitous program. I used to be a power-pointy power user. But in 2010 […]

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Lurkers, Surfers, and Free-riders: Is Under-Participation a Problem?

The group project regularly begets under-participation. No student situation in college teaching better illustrates the free-rider phenomenon. Perhaps Homer Simpson demonstrates the free-rider phenomenon best. Individuals who receive collective benefits without contributing are common in group work. One or more students in a group project can easily slack off while only one student fulfills the assignment requirements. The online discussion forum, like […]

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How to Get Away with Murder, or How to Kill Student Participation

There is a television show on ABC where a professor takes five students under the wing. The teacher is charismatic, unconventional and named Professor Keating. The plot quickly differs from that of the earlier Professor John Keating in Dead Poets Society, except for one thing: both of them get away with murder. Their command of the classroom kills student […]

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Can Multiple Choice Tests Promote Learning?

In “Multiple Choices,” a post on the blog Practicum: Critical Theory, Religion, and Pedagogy, Russell McCutcheon ponders how multiple choice tests facilitate learning in large introductory courses: But what about the multiple choice tests? Well, like that definition assignment . . . it’s more about how they study for it and how they come to […]

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Building Community in Large Courses

Building community in the classroom involves establishing a mutual respect between the instructor and students, fostering meaningful peer-to-peer connections, and creating an environment that values diversity. This may sound like a tall order for large classes, but a vibrant classroom community could enhance the big class experience for everyone. Not sure where to start? Here are some […]

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Establishing Classroom Culture

A healthy classroom culture requires more than routines and procedures. It also involves balancing your authority as the instructor, maximizing classroom efficiency, and motivating students to achieve. Holly Grout, a professor of history, and Natalie Dautovich, a professor of psychology, offer tips for creating a positive classroom culture in large courses. Make your expectations clear. Holly Grout: Clarity is […]

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