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Classroom Practices

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As instructors, you’ve most likely utilized online discussion boards for either intro conversations in online classes or for course Q&As. But discussion boards’ benefits go far beyond that. If they’re such a big deal, why can it be such a challenge to motivate students to participate?

Oftentimes, the assignment guidelines lack clarity, sound too formal, require extensive research, or contradict the rules set for a particular online discussion.

This blog will help you navigate all the stages of creating discussion board assignments so you can avoid the most common pitfalls. There’ll also be a couple of tools to try. It’s time to dig in!

Healthy self-criticism and persistency – that’s what leads to perfection. But counting on yourself only may slow down the progress. In instructional development, a community of like-minded peers too often acts as a real driving force enabling faster improvements.

So, how does it all work in real life? Utah State University (USU) can serve as a good example of community power. The institution regularly holds the eLearnX event to encourage knowledge sharing among instructors and motivate them to speak out freely about all the failures and successes.

In our interview with Travis N. Thurston, PhD, Assistant Director in the Office of Empowering Teaching Excellence at USU, we’ve got to know more about the instructional development at USU, how blended courses have become part of their learning process, lessons learnt from a fast transition to distance learning, and what stands behind the architecture of engagement. Let’s cut to the chase.

Being a great educator requires much more than just engaging and teaching your students. Odds are, you’re juggling more than one group of students or several subjects at any given time. You may even spend your spare time on whatever additional requirements are placed on you by the administrators. Those little extras wouldn’t be such a big deal if it weren’t for the already-limited time that educators have to do their jobs properly.

Even if schools provide teachers with powerful tools to help them, juggling too many responsibilities means that teachers won’t have a good time using those tools. Whether it’s a tool for providing students with feedback or checking for plagiarism, the danger here is that it will add to the teachers’ burden instead of easing it.

This blog is a nice addition to the previous one featuring interactive learning activities, as here we dive into the real-life example of how a UK-based college is tackling the many challenges of remote learning with a bunch of effective digital tools.

Matt Beck, Advanced Quality Practitioner for Digital Skills at Heart of Worcestershire College, has been into cross college staff training and support for about 6 years. He gained a lot of practical knowledge and experience in the development of teaching, learning and assessment skills.

We’ve connected with Matt to find out how Heart of Worcestershire College has arranged the digital learning process and what applications and regular activities can streamline both teaching and learning online. Read on, this piece is chock-full of good advice!

The fall semester is around the corner, and educators everywhere are busy preparing for their teaching and learning activities in the coming months. In these moments, it’s normal to think about the strategies and tools to use to conduct engaging online classes. Here, we’ll go through some essential e-learning strategies and online student engagement tools that can help remove any barriers between an educator and a student. Let’s dive in.

Let’s face it—some things never change, like last-minute assignments and the growing anxiousness that gets even more intense with the amount of assignments students receive.

Writing assignments come in different forms and shapes, from lab work to a short argumentative essay. Why, then, do many students end up failing to complete them? It just contradicts plain logic—the more students get into the habit of writing, the better their writing skills should become. But often, that’s not the case.

Moving classes online at short notice is quite a challenging feat. But once the teaching & learning process has begun, maintaining student engagement remotely becomes the next big challenge.

While the tech side of the equation is essential for effective remote learning, we’d like to offer educators a different perspective on student engagement. Consider this: what if knowing how to get students’ attention means focusing on pedagogy, and not just fancy online learning tools?

As the University of California in Merced puts it, student engagement is crucial for ensuring your students understand what you’re teaching. From that perspective, we can see that the key to engagement lies closer to the pedagogical side of things rather than just the tech.

In this article, we’ll start by exploring some student engagement strategies.

Hardly anyone is born with the feeling that learning is important. It’s something that many of us are likely to embrace after high school graduation or even later. Who holds the key to student motivation so that they can be engaged in the knowledge discovery process? Surely, parents and instructors are involved. They can eventually help students establish their goals and find the pathway to reach them.

Here’s when fellow students also contribute greatly by showing their interest toward studies and the progress they make.

To see the world of academia through the eyes of a student and better grasp their potential motivation drivers, we’ve connected with Daniel Wong.

Plagiarism these days is an ever growing problem. According to Unicheck statistics, nearly 58% of students admitted to plagiarizing just in the last year. From simple copy-pasting to using essay mills, – the possibilities are endless. Because of that, more and more institutions are actively seeking effective solutions to the problem. But before looking for an answer, we must take a better look at the question, and try to understand the reasoning behind cheating and ways educators can empower their students and promote better writing practices.

Passion is what makes good writing but only practice is what makes good writing real. Walking into the classroom with a bunch of blank papers, pencils, and big expectations is not the best approach to enhance writing skills of students. The writing skills nurturing should develop gradually and turn into steady practice environment where each student has own reason to write. If you want your students to turn into enthusiastic writers, you need to let them understand the basics of the clear sentence construction and support them on every stage of the writing session.

Professor R. Kellogg in the “Psychology of writing” book suggested several principles of the writing practice based on the conducted research. According to the book, the good writing habits are based on efforts and motivation, repetition and attainability (the level of skills already attained by the students). In this topic, we will discover how to raise the level of writing attainability, learning the components of the balanced sentence and using practical exercises to support the skill retention.