Daring to try new teaching strategies in your course

This post featuring Prof. Rhonda Amsel is the latest installment in our ongoing series about assessment tools for large classes. On June 12, 2015, Rhonda was the guest speaker at a session entitled Daring to Try New Teaching Strategies in your Large Class.

Rhonda Amsel teaches stats … stats classes of 300-400 undergrads from across the disciplines. She’s been teaching stats for over 40 years, and as suggested by the title of her presentation, not only is she not complacent about her teaching, but it’s obvious she still enjoys it. With her wry sense of humour, she quipped that teaching in an auditorium provides many of the challenges of a live performance, like Math-donna in front of an audience (but with more conservative costumes.) Continue reading Daring to try new teaching strategies in your course

How to succeed at University: twelve tips for undergraduate students

Adam Finkelstein:

Another great start-of-term post from regular contributor Chris Buddle (@CMBuddle). Some helpful tips to share with your students.

Originally posted on Arthropod Ecology:

Note: this is an updated/edited post, it was originally published several years ago.

The start of term is an exciting time for those of us who work at a University. There are many new students arriving on campus, full of enthusiasm, hope, and questions.  As an Associate Dean, I meet many of these students, and I am often asked for advice during orientation week. Later in the term, I sometimes see students who are struggling, and looking for strategies to help with balancing their academic work with other priorities, or looking for ways to make their time at University a little easier. So, here are my twelve tips for success at University:

1. Work hard. At the end of the day, hard work pays off. You made it into University, which suggests you have the fundamental skill set required for higher education. However, don’t forget to keep your eye…

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Breaking the ice – 5 tips for getting your discussions started in myCourses

Welcome to our first post of the 2015 academic year! Keep an eye out for lots more in the coming weeks. And now onto some great tips on using discussions in myCourses.

Classes start in just over two weeks, so it’s the perfect time to start getting your myCourses pages ready for the semester. The Discussions tool can be a great way to add an online component to your course. This blog post contains recommendations for creating exciting online discussions, with a focus on how you can leverage online icebreaker activities as an opportunity to introduce students to the Discussions tool. Continue reading Breaking the ice – 5 tips for getting your discussions started in myCourses

Peer review with 500 students

lawrence-chenThis post featuring Prof. Lawrence Chen is the latest installment in our ongoing series about assessment tools for large classes. On March 17, 2015, Lawrence was the guest speaker at a brown bag lunch session on Evaluation and Feedback for Large Classes. In his presentation, Peer Review as an Active Learning Strategy in a Large First Year Course, Lawrence shared his thoughts on the pedagogy and logistics related to his experience implementing a peer review writing assignment with nearly 500 undergraduate Engineering students, as well as his students’ thoughts on engaging in this peer review task. Continue reading Peer review with 500 students

Expanding boundaries and increasing diversity by teaching with technology

Originally posted on Arthropod Ecology:

“As teachers, technology encourages us to be more creative, more influential, and more mindful of the implicit and explicit impacts our words have on students, and to explore new ways to make our classrooms more diverse”.

That’s a quote from a paper by Josh Drew, published last week. In this paper, Drew provides some fascinating case studies about how teaching with technology can help break down some strong barriers in higher education, with a focus on STEM disciplines. For example, students from the LGTBQ community, visible minorities, and other marginalized groups are often at a distinct disadvantage in a university context, whether it’s lack of access, finances, support, or mentorship. Drew argues that teaching with attention to this problem, and in a way that embraces diversity, is critically important, but is also a challenge. Technology can be a potential facilitator for this, and help overcome the challenge. To help…

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Ephemeral art

Adam Finkelstein:

An interesting post from Chris Buddle about a rogue artist in his class. What a wonderful way to start your class every week! Has this ever happened in your class?

Originally posted on Arthropod Ecology:

It’s a difficult time of year for many people: Instructors are looking at how many lectures are left before final exams, and starting to panic about how much material hasn’t yet been covered! We are planning field seasons, applying for research permits, juggling meetings, and starting to think about how the summer’s work-life balance will play out. As we approach the end of term, stress levels in the classroom are also building. Students are working madly on term papers, scrambling to get things organized for summer jobs or internships, and looking ahead to final exams.

It’s busy. Everyone is too busy. The days are too full and it’s not easy.

Then this happens:

A gift on the chalkboard A gift on the chalkboard

I teach with chalk, and in my lecture hall there’s a vertical sliding chalkboard. When I enter the room, the front, upper board is where I start the lecture and as…

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Discussing what matters in higher education.


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