Faculty Focus

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Structuring Discussions: Online and Face-to-Face

I found a nice set of online discussion activities that strike me as good in-class discussion activities as well. One of the reasons discussion so often fails or doesn’t realize much of its potential is the absence of structure. The discussion is too open-ended. It wanders around and is easily sidetracked. I’m not discounting the value of an occasional unstructured exchange, but when students are still learning what academic discourse entails, a structure can keep the discussion focused and on track.  Get free report »

Applying Recent Copyright Court Decisions to Distance Ed

Fair use, transformative uses, and copyright compliance are important concepts to understand as you begin selecting materials for your online courses. Learn what you can and can’t use.  Get free report »

Using Classroom Assessment Techniques:  A Proactive Approach for Online Learning

There are two main forms of assessment often used within the online classroom. Both formative and summative assessments evaluate student learning and assist instructors in guiding instructional planning and delivery. While the purpose of a summative assessment is to check for mastery following the instruction, formative assessment focuses on informing teachers in ways to improve student learning during lesson delivery (Gualden, 2010). Each type of assessment has a specific place and role within education, both traditional and online. Get free report »

Keeping Students Engaged in the Online Classroom

As an online instructor, I can fulfill the minimum requirements of the university regarding interacting with students, or I can create a learning environment that facilitates student engagement in the classroom. Students enroll in online classes because of the need for scheduling flexibility, work-life-school balance, costs, and convenience. Although online learning holds many advantages, the potential drawbacks revolve around the lack of personal interaction between the instructor and student, as well as the student-to-student contact. Keeping students engaged in the course is a vital function of an effective instructor. Get free report »

Prompts That Get Students to Analyze, Reflect, Relate, and Question

A simple teaching technique that helps students learn; now there’s something few teachers would pass up! This particular technique involves a four-question set that gets students actively responding to the material they are studying. They analyze, reflect, relate, and question via these four prompts: Get free report »

The Benefits of Flipping your Classroom.

A small but growing number of faculty at major universities are experimenting with the inverted or flipped classroom. It’s an instructional model popularized by, among other influences, a Ted Talk by Khan Academy founder Salman Khan, which has received more than 2.5 million views. Institutions as varied as Duke University’s School of Medicine, Boston University’s College of Engineering, and the University of Washington School of Business have joined Clemson, Michigan State, the University of Texas, and many others in experimenting with changing from in-class lectures to video lectures and using class time to explore the challenging and more difficult aspects of course content. Get free report »

How We Learn and How We Teach

Do you teach the way you learn? That’s the question Harold White asks in a short essay in which he recounts how he decided that he should. The catalyst was a faculty development workshop (more than 20 years ago) that featured an interesting activity. Participants were challenged to think about the most important lessons they had learned in life. They named six of these learning events, writing one on the front of six index cards. On the back of each card they wrote as much as they could remember about the circumstances that surrounded the events. Then they looked for patterns—things those learning events had in common. Where did they happen? Get free report »

Advice for the First Day of Class:  Today We Will

The first day of class is critical. What happens on the first day, even in the first moments, sets the tone for the entire course. The first impression you make will last the entire semester, and today’s students are not shy about sharing their opinions and what they think. Most students will make up their minds about the course and the instructor during that first class period.  Get free report »

The Instructor’s Challenge: Moving Students beyond Opinions to Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is defined as a reflective and reasonable thought process embodying depth, accuracy, and astute judgment to determine the merit of a decision, an object, or a theory (Alwehaibi, 2012). Creative thinking involves analysis, evaluation, and a synthesizing of facts, ideas, opinions, and theories. Possessing the capacity to logically and creatively exercise in-depth judgment and reflection to work effectively in the realm of complex ideas exemplifies a critical thinker (Carmichael & Farrell, 2012).  Get free report »

Five Tips for Fostering Learning in the Classroom

During the final meeting with one of my speech classes, I asked each student to give a few parting words to the class. I found a similar message resonating from many who spoke. Soon after, I received an email from an advisor at our school asking me to share some tips on fostering learning in the classroom. Since I had recorded that final speech class, I decided to use my students’ comments as the basis for my advice.  Get free report »

Ten Strategies to Improve Blended Course Design

Blended learning offers flexibility, accessibility, and a way to maximize the benefit of face-to-face interaction between instructor and student.  When properly employed, technology offers great teaching opportunities to instructors and schools. But it is not enough simply to shift components of traditional courses online. New tools require new tactics, new assignments, and new ways of teaching.  Get free report »

Better Group Work Experiences Begin with How the Groups Are Formed

Like many matters regarding teaching and learning, there isn’t one best way to put students into groups. The best way is related to what you want students to learn from their group experience. Here’s a brief discussion of how that works for three common ways of forming groups.  Get free report »

“I Don’t Like This One Little Bit.” Tales from a Flipped Classroom

The Internet flipped learning before instructors did. Want to find out something? Google it. Wikipedia it. Use your laptop or smartphone or iPad. That’s where the “answers” are. Some of us initially reacted to this cyber-democratization of information asserting, “This isn’t right! The Internet is full of incomplete and simply wrong information.” But the challenge to the classroom was more profound. It has raised questions among students and even administrators about the need for face-to-face classrooms at all, as if correct information and unchallenged “opinions” were all that was needed.  Get free report »

Online Course Design: 13 Strategies for Teaching in a Web-based Distance Learning Environment

Good online course design begins with a clear understanding of specific learning outcomes and ways to engage students, while creating activities that allow students to take some control of their learning. It also requires a little extra effort upfront to minimize two of the most common frustrations of online learning.
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Course Design and Development Ideas That Work

This 17-page report features proven course design alternatives implemented in courses of varying sizes and disciplines. It’s sure inspire you to rethink how you could change certain components of your courses to build a better learning environment.  Get free report »

Student Collaboration in the Online Classroom

One of the best teaching tools in a traditional classroom is the team project. When students work together, they learn a great deal – not just about what they’re studying, but about how to work with others toward common goals, with shared responsibilities, for shared reward. Traditional classrooms have an innate advantage in bringing students together … the students are sitting there right in front of them. A collaborative project can begin by simply seating the team at the same table.  Get free report »

10 Effective Classroom Management Techniques Every Faculty Member Should Know

Effective classroom management is much more than simply administering corrective measures when a student misbehaves; it’s about developing proactive ways to prevent problems from occurring in the first place while creating a positive learning environment.
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Strategies for Increasing Online Student Retention and Satisfaction

As an increasing number of colleges and universities identify online education as a critical component to their long-term strategy, the issue of retention can no longer be ignored. It is mandatory for everyone who touches the distance learner to understand why these students leave their online courses, and what it will take to keep them there.  Get free report »

Effective Group Work Strategies for the College Classroom

From understanding course content to developing problem solving, teamwork, and communication skills, group work is an effective teaching strategy whose lessons may endure well beyond the end of a course. So why is it that so many students (and some faculty) hate it?  Get free report »

Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Tools: 15 Strategies for Engaging Online Students Using Real-time Chat, Threaded Discussions and Blogs

Opportunities for meaningful synchronous and asynchronous interaction are plentiful, provided you design and facilitate your online course in the correct manner and with all of the proper tools. This free report provides practical advice from educators who have found effective ways to promote learning and build a sense of community in their online courses.
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Tips for Encouraging Student Participation in Classroom Discussions

A lot of students seem to assume that as long as the assigned work is completed on time, test scores are good, and attendance is satisfactory, they should not be forced to participate. This special report will help you create favorable conditions for more active classroom discussions.  Get free report »

Assessing Online Learning: Strategies, Challenges and Opportunities

If you want insight into how to assess online learning at the course, program, and institutional levels, you’ll want to download this new special report that will help you create more effective online assessment exercises and strategies.  Get free report »

10 Principles of Effective Online Teaching: Best Practices in Distance Education

Despite the many benefits, teaching online also comes with its share of challenges. This special report will help you establish online instructor best practices and performance expectations for creating a successful teaching and learning experience.  Get free report »

Keys to Designing Effective Writing and Research Assignments

Professors often believe students should arrive on campus knowing how to write research papers. Unfortunately, many do not. Download this free report for proven assignment strategies that are easy to implement.  Get free report »

11 Strategies for Managing Your Online Courses

If you think the flexibility of online teaching also means that it’s OK to “wing it” now and then, you’d be wrong. If anything, you have to be more organized, more consistent and more prepared for anything than ever before.  Get free report »

Effective Strategies for Improving College Teaching and Learning

What we teach and how we teach it are inextricably linked. This special report helps you discover new ways to build strong connections between the two with strategies for engaging students, giving feedback, creating a climate for learning, and more.  Get free report »

Building Student Engagement: 15 Strategies for the College Classroom

One of the most challenging tasks instructors face is keeping students engaged. Building Student Engagement: 15 Strategies for the College Classroom will help you meet that challenge while ensuring your classroom is a positive and productive learning environment.
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Teaching Mistakes from the College Classroom

If you’re like most educators, you probably made your share of teaching mistakes. This report features more than a dozen essays by instructors who were willing to share their early-career missteps and the lessons they learned. Because sometimes you just have to follow your gut, and sometimes your gut is wrong.  Get free report »

Promoting Academic Integrity in Online Education

Online education did not invent cheating, but it certainly does present unique challenges. This 20-page report provides proactive ways for meeting these challenges head on.
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11 Strategies for Getting Students to Read What’s Assigned

Despite the correlation between reading and course success, many students try to do as little reading as possible. Whether your students struggle with the material or simply lack the motivation to read what’s assigned, this report will help ensure your students read and understand important course material.  Get free report »