Increasingly, accreditation agencies are advocating for deeper levels of mastery by our students that include cognition, application, and evaluation, as well as an ability to communicate in various ways.

I was struck by an article I was reading recently that reminded me of an assignment from graduate school. In essence, each student was to present a summary of a research article related to a chronic disease that was assigned. As I read the article related to exercise for people with type I diabetes, there were so many things that I had to look up (in a book…with pages), that I decided to integrate a lesson for the class on type I diabetes into my presentation. It went well because my preparation meant that I really understood what I was talking about. It went so well, in fact, that if I had to choose a moment in my education that cemented my plans to become a professor, that was it.

My recent read suggested that instead of having student groups give “presentations,” have them present an actual class lesson. For me, I truly learn it when I have to teach it, and I’m assuming that is true for our students as well. The beauty of structuring an assignment as a class lesson is that students can incorporate their prior professional and life experiences and their own creativity into the lesson. They can demonstrate to us how they learn best through how they teach their peers, and they can practice teamwork in an authentic environment.

The structure of the presentation will need to be clear and directive with support from the instructor since most students have probably not taught content before. It might look something like this:

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It’s week 6 so most of us have given at least one major assessment of our students…but have you given them an opportunity to assess YOU? If not, consider a midterm teaching evaluation. Here are some things to consider:

  1. This is a formative assessment. Midterm course evals are a fantastic way for you to glean meaningful feedback from your students on what is working, what isn’t, and what you could still do to help them learn better.
  2. This feedback can (and should) be qualitative as opposed to the mostly quantitative feedback that we receive on eSETs. If you’re like me, you probably skip right to the comments when reading your end-of-course feedback anyway.
  3. These evaluations are not part of your “official” evaluation record; an even better reason to get honest, constructive feedback from your students while you still have time to make changes.
  4. Midterm evaluations demonstrate to your students that you have their best interests in mind, that you are there to help them learn and that you are very interested in how you can do that better.
  5. Research shows that midterm evaluations actually improve end-of-term student evaluations when the feedback leads to changes in the class (McDonnell & Dodd, 2017). When we give students agency to affect change, they are more committed to their learning process.

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“My students aren’t doing the reading.” Sound familiar? I hear this all the time and certainly have experienced this universal phenomenon in my own classes. Students cite a lack of time as the most common reason for not completing the assigned reading, but if we probed a little deeper, I suspect we might learn the real reasons why they opt out. Many students don’t see the value in the reading or more specifically, think they can get by without doing it. This fact alone reveals an important problem – many students haven’t learned how to be self-directed learners.

The good news is that we can help them figure this out. Simply taking a few minutes to describe, or better yet, show them what an article, chapter, or passage might look like if they annotated it, should help. I’ve done this before and was surprised at how many students didn’t read this way.

The main point is to get students to think about what they’re reading and ask questions, relate content to what they already know, and emphasize the “aha!” moments. We can help them do this by Continue reading

Today’s post is about a topic that we love to hate: Academic Integrity. It’s our job as faculty to ensure the fidelity of our assessments. We plan our classes and prepare our students to the best of our ability, but some students still choose to take the low road. Klein et al (2006) reported that 86% of a 268-student cross disciplinary sample reported they had cheated. Why? Harris (1989) reported that it has to do with students’ values and often times, the classroom environment. In classes that were less personalized and where students were less engaged, cheating was higher than when the opposite was true (Pulvers, 1999).

As our campus Academic Integrity Officer, I have adjudicated all kinds of academic dishonesty cases. It’s heart-breaking to hear from a student that they felt like they had no other option. Crunched for time as a result of poor planning or too many competing responsibilities, otherwise rational students sometimes do irrational things. Continue reading