Fostering Learning Through Interaction
Adsit (2011) provides tips for lectures that are engaging, informative and participatory.
Audience Engagement and Interactivity
Audience attention wanes after 12-20 minutes. Design your class sessions with “activity breaks” to allow your students to process, review and apply the material that you present.
- Ask a question or pose a problem to be solved individually
- Have students work in pairs or trios on a problem or discuss a question
- Use a video or film clip to illustrate the topic
- Present a case study for discussion
Continue reading Teaching Strategy Tip #31
Anticipate the next session’s topic
Strategy: At the end of a class session early in the semester, the instructor informs the students that they will be asked to write, at the beginning of the next session, responses to questions regarding understanding and agreement.
Process: At the beginning of a class session, students are asked to write two entries on index cards or sheets of paper:
- Question 1: Something they did not understand in the reading
- Question 2: Something they disagreed with in the reading
Continue reading Teaching Strategy Tip #23
Master basic metacognitive processes*
Strategy: Support students’ efforts to evaluate their own knowledge and skills, identifying strengths and weaknesses. Instructors can help students recognize what they do well and where they need improvement in their performance. Learning to assess how to complete a performance task (e.g., project, examination) demands guidance from the instructor and practice by the student.
Process: For every demonstration of performance (ungraded and graded), instructors guide students to:
Continue reading Teaching Strategy Tip #28
Many students are afraid of writing and are afraid of the freedom that an assignment predicated on their interests might suggest (Bean, 2011). A reason for students’ reactions is that they are concerned about exposing themselves as not being proficient writers. This is a concern not only for students whose first language is not English but also for those whose first language is English. Scaffolding assignments to provide practice and improve performance can be encouraged in multiple ways through formal and informal writing. Further, scaffolding writing assignments allow students to learn more critically as they improve their work.
Informal writing, also called exploratory writing, or expressive writing “is the kind of exploratory, thinking-on-paper writing we do to discover, develop, and clarify our own ideas. Exploratory writing is typically unorganized and tentative, moving off in unanticipated directions as new ideas, complications, and questions strike the writer in the process of thinking and creating. Examples of exploratory writing include journals, notebooks, marginal notes in books, nonstop freewrites, reading logs, diaries, daybooks, letters to colleagues…memoranda to myself” (Bean, 2011, pp. 120-121).
Continue reading Teaching Strategy Tip #34
Statement of Academic Integrity
Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion. The complete text of the University policy on Academic Integrity may be found in the catalog.
City Tech’s Academic Integrity Policy Manual
Citation and Research Management Tools
- EasyBib A simple, easy-to-use tool for managing citations. Set up an account to save your work.
- Zotero Free Firefox extension and standalone application that helps manage information found on the internet including articles in library databases. Enables capture of data and creation of bibliographies.
- Refworks Web-based bibliographic citation management tool featuring importing of references from online databases and creation of bibliographies in a variety of citation styles. Available to City Tech students, faculty, and staff. Log-in with your City Tech ID is required.
- Mendeley Free online service that facilitates management of research documents and creation of bibliographies. Also has many features that support collaboration between researchers.
Student Self-Evaluation of Discussion Participation
- Distribute these questions to participants and have them complete these. Discuss with participants whether you as the instructor will see the students’ responses. The questionnaires are to be completed anonymously.
- What ideas, questions or information did I contribute to the discussion today?
- How did I try to encourage another student to speak today?
- What did I learn from the discussion today? (New information, a new understanding of something already covered, an idea to follow up after the discussion, etc.)
- How did I make connections between what different people were saying today?
Key concepts to designing tests (Reed, 2002) include. Good test questions:
- Address course objectives, material taught in class, and important skills and concepts
- Provide complete, consistent, and unambiguous instructions
- Present only one correct answer when only is called for
- Are easy for all students to understand
- Do not emphasize the trivial and do not ‘trick’ the students
- Have the correct answers randomly arranged throughout the test for multiple-choice tests
- Don’t provide signals or cues to eliminate incorrect answers
- Highlight a negative word, such as not, to avoid confusion
- Give students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned, not memorized; and
- Are used to review and reinforce learning (Reed, 2002, p. 31).
Review with Exam Wrappers*
Strategy: Exam Wrappers direct students to review their performance (and the instructor’s feedback) on an exam to adapt future learning.
Time: Allot time for individual review and general discussion in the session after an exam
Materials: Returned exams
Questionnaire (“exam wrapper”) with three questions
Continue reading Teaching Strategy Tip #29
Become a Critically Reflective Instructor*
Strategy: Obtain feedback from students on their engagement in the course
Time: (1) About ten minutes of class time
(2) Depending on the number of students, the results may take some time to enter, code, and tabulate, creating categories of responses. The results can also be grouped in broad categories and use stick-counting to tabulate the results, picking out exemplar quotes.
Materials: The [PDF] Critical Incident Questionnaire poses five questions to be answered without having students write their names. The questions are:
Continue reading Teaching Strategy Tip #7