Scan and Deliver! Personalized Feedback in Large Classes

barcodes used to scan and return graded exams

by Marco Bonizzoni and Diana Leung, Department of Chemistry Organic chemistry is a surprisingly visual discipline. Molecules, the fundamental entities of chemistry, exist as 3D objects whose shapes often profoundly influence their properties, so students must learn the visual language of the discipline, which attempts to convey the nature of these three-dimensional objects through two-dimensional drawings. […]

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This Professor Likes CATs (classroom assessment techniques)

Spock does mind meld on Nixon

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?

Computer, headphones, and coffee mug on a desk

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

Full lecture in Theatre L, Newman Building, UCD

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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Visual Thinking in Organic Chemistry

Dr. Bonizzoni's organic chemistry class

Instructor: Marco Bonizzoni Course: Organic Chemistry (CH 231 & 232) Audience: Undergraduates Organic chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of chemicals containing carbon as the key element. These compounds are both the basis of all life on earth (we are all made of organic compounds) and a large focus of the chemical […]

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

Student waiting during office hours

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

Dr. Loewen's religious studies class

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?

arrows pointing to over-participation and under-participation

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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