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?
Fostering Class Discussion
Principles of good discussion, as specified by Brookfield and Presskill (2007), are to be used under the following appropriate conditions:
- When multiple perspectives on content are possible
- When applications of content to real life settings are being considered
- When students already have grasped the essentials or basics of what is being discussed, the ‘grammar’ of the activity
- When there is a genuine openness about where the discussion might lead.
Further, the chances for good discussion are raised when:
Continue reading Teaching Strategy Tip #38
Demonstrate the organizational structure of the course*
Strategy: Provide students with the organizational structure of the course.
Objective: By explicitly discussing the order of presentation of topics and concepts, the instructor shares the connections and accumulation of knowledge.
Process: Review the syllabus as a “road map”
- Highlight the organization of the concepts
- In the readings
- In the topics
- Discuss how the assignments serve as scaffolding for cumulative learning
Option: Connect this exercise with further discussion of the syllabus
* Based on strategies suggested by Ambrose et al., 2010