Faculty Blog

Engaging Students in Large Courses

If student learning depends on engagement, then it should be one of our top priorities in the classroom. But how do you foster interest, curiosity, and excitement in large courses for which the lecture is standard? Know Students’ Names Matthew Dolliver: I use a number of techniques to help keep students engaged. First, knowing students’ names draws

Active Learning in Large Math Courses

by Brendan Ames, Department of Mathematics I try to involve my students in my lectures as much as possible. When “discovering” a new formula or method in class, I will usually begin by leading my students in a brief brainstorming session. This is typically in the form of a very informal call and response, where I

Favorite Strategies: A Lecture Formula

by Brendan Ames I try to help my students develop their mathematical intuition and reasoning skills rather than simply teaching them how to make calculations. My lectures tend to follow a somewhat strict formula: Introduce a problem Discuss/investigate methods of solving the problem Arrive at a method for solving the problem Apply this method to

Altman Teaches Intro Course with Twitter

by Jessica Porter, Office of Educational Technology (eTech) Michael Altman, an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies, explains how he incorporated Twitter in his large, 150-student Introduction to Religious Studies course, and he offers advice for those considering using Twitter in their own courses. What were you goals for using Twitter? I was trying to find

How I Guide Students to Read for My Class

by Chris Lynn, Department of Anthropology One of the downsides of being a professor is that we were all the types of people who generally liked to read and liked to learn more, which is what led us to be successful in college, go on to graduate school, and become professors. The easiest students to

Faculty Spotlight: Jessica Kidd

What are your favorite teaching strategies?  My favorite teaching strategies are getting students to make something and then getting them to reflect on that process of making. When I teach freshman composition courses, I want students to write essays and then think back to how/why they made the choices they did to create those essays. After students

“On the Road” with Jeff Melton

Instructor: Jeff Melton Course: On the Road (AMS 412) Audience: Undergraduates Part cultural history, part literature/film survey, “On the Road” examines the enduring narrative that emerges when Americans take to the open road behind the wheel of a car. Car culture is arguably the most definitive characteristic of late-20th century American social structure, and the

Hands-On Learning in Large Psychology Course

Instructor: Ansley Gilpin Course: Developmental Psychology (PY 352) Audience: Undergraduates Developmental Psychology is a large, 225-student course for upperclassmen. Some of the students are psychology majors, and others are fulfilling a requirement or an elective for another major (e.g., nursing and education). The course uses active and collaborative learning to help students understand and apply the key

Teaching with Mathematica

Mathematica is a software program designed to help math, science, and engineering students explore and grasp mathematical concepts. It also gives faculty the tools needed to easily create supporting course materials, assignments, and presentations. Robert Nelson, an English professor, and Marco Bonizzoni, a chemistry professor, share how they use Mathematica in their research and teaching: Teaching

What’s the Best Length for a Tegrity Recording?

Faculty can use Tegrity, the lecture capture tool licensed by the University of Alabama, to record their in-class lectures or provide supplementary videos that automatically upload to Blackboard. The in-class lecture recordings, as you might imagine, tend to last about an hour or more. But research shows that for best results, videos should be less