Preparing to Teach

Feed-Forward: Constructive Feedback for Future Assignments

There continues to be interest in the kind of feedback that helps students make changes that improve their work. Take something called feed-forward, for example. It’s defined as “timely and constructive feedback that feeds into the next assignment.” (p. 451) Here’s a study that assessed

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Use Team Charters to Improve Group Assignments

A recent and excellent article that proposes a model for “building teams that learn” recommends that teachers have students develop a team charter early in their interaction. “Completing a team charter encourages team members to set goals and discuss how they will work together; it

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Teaching Goal-Writing to All Students

On the first day of classes two years ago, I had students in my professional and technical writing course send me an email with their goals for the semester. I discovered they had no understanding of goals, expectations, or objectives. I realized there are reasons why

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More Than a Contract

Several years ago, I read Judith Grunert’s book The Course Syllabus. The book taught me several things about syllabi that changed the way I look at them and use them in my courses. Too often we have a limited view of the syllabus, seeing it

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Threshold Concepts: Portals to New Ways of Thinking

A threshold concept is discipline-specific, focuses on understanding of the subject and … has the ability to transform learners’ views of the content.” (Zepke, p. 98) It’s not the same as a core concept, although that’s a useful place to first put the idea. “A

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Creative Assignments: Where Do They Belong?

Can you teach students to be creative? Most of us would say no. It’s more like trying to teach for it—encouraging it, promoting it, acknowledging when it happens, and rewarding it. Despite the difficulties associated with teaching creativity, teachers shouldn’t be excused from trying to

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Does Use of Course Materials Placed Online Improve Performance?

Course websites now include such things as the course syllabus, PowerPoint slides, study guides, discussion questions, links to online content sources announcements, reminders of due dates, and opportunities for online discussion via e-mail and discussion boards. Most faculty put materials online to help students learn

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Thinking about Writing Assignments Developmentally

Often the articles highlighted in The Teaching Professor are examples of pedagogical scholarship that could beneficially be done in many fields. That is the case with this piece on developing writing assignments, but it also contains content useful to any faculty member who uses writing

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Keeping Students on Board with Concept Maps

The benefits of concept maps are well established. They encourage students to organize knowledge and do so in ways meaningful to them. They help students sort out, prioritize, and understand relationships between terms, concepts, and ideas. Students can also use concept maps to forge relationships

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What Types of Writing Assignments Are in Your Syllabus?

Thanks to the Writing-Across-the-Curriculum movement we are having our students write more and we’re using a wider range of writing assignments. Right?

If that’s what you’re doing, it’s consistent with the actions of faculty teaching undergraduate sociology courses; as documented by an analysis of 405 different

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