classroom culture

Five Activities for the First Day of Class

by Jessica Porter, Office of Educational Technology (eTech) The first class meeting is an opportunity to clarify your goals and expectations for the course and to get acquainted with your students. Who are they, and what questions, hopes, and interests do they bring to the course? Here are a few first-day activities you can use

Students’ Opinions Instruction are In! Now What?

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies 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.

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

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies 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

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

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies 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.

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 “Clarity is key.