Looking for tried-and-true ways to get your students motivated? Joe Ruhl has found some effective methods that will inspire new generations of students. He calls them the “Five C’s” and in a nutshell, he recommends these five easy-to-remember elements that you can integrate into your course design to help inspire student learning:
- Choice (e.g. a variety of different projects)
- Collaboration (teamwork)
- Communication – (collaborative)
- Critical thinking (problem solving)
- Creativity (encouraging innovation)
If you hang in there until the end of the TED Talk, there is one more “C” to add to this list, and he hints that it might be the MOST important one of all: “Caring.” Enjoy!
With a few simple steps, you can build an accurate grade center, then use the My Grades tool so your students can track their progress.
Here are some easy ways to make your grade center a clear and correct reflection of student’s work.
- For face-to-face courses, build grade columns that reflect points accurately. An easy way to check: Hover over the Total column to see how your grade center adds up.
- Use the Manage > Column Organization view for clarity and clean-up. If you have column “clutter,” use this view to check total points and move columns around.
- Simplify your grade center by removing default columns you don’t use. For example, feel free to delete the Weighted Total column if you don’t use weighted grades.
- Categorize your grade columns first if you want to drop lowest score from a group of tests, or assign percentages to create a Weighted total.
- Use Student Preview to check My Grades for accuracy. This shows exactly what your students will see.
- Check the BbLearn Help site for step-by-step help with more complex grade center tasks. Call, email, or visit us in the Education Building, Room 220 for friendly advice.
It might seem challenging to set up your Grade Center, but DEE is here to help you get it right.
Are your courses providing the kinds of experiences, projects, and skills-based practice that will motivate and challenge these students? Or are you playing it safe with old-school lecture and testing?
Taking risks with collaborative group work learning models or using new technologies is worth it, not just because digital natives will benefit. It also models a love of learning on your part, and a willingness to make change, to fail and keep trying.
Now you can engage students online by adding a Yellowdig board, which lets students watch their points accumulate as they type a post, or explain a video link, or “like” other classmates’ ideas.
You can even set up your Yellowdig board as a ‘crowdsourcing’ tool – students can research and post solutions to a problem, then “like” or upvote the best solutions, serving as a springboard for further exploration or projects.
Some risks; many rewards.
New tools are making it easier than ever to incorporate great multimedia online; not just for lecture content and tutorials, but also for students projects and assignments.
Meet the free and friendly tools of Web 2.0 – many allow simple one-click sign up via Facebook, and a very short learning curve. Assigning your students cloud-tool based projects can help them build 21st century skills, and offers creative alternatives for formal written papers.
Here are 6 resources to help you design and deliver multimedia learning options:
- Microsoft Office Mix – Death by Powerpoint? Not anymore. Now you can add quiz slides, narrate, and integrate video clips with the free Powerpoint Mix toolbar. Secure login with your UIdaho (student or instructor) account. Check out this Ohms Law presentation, made with Mix.
- Podcasting with Soundcloud – Podcasts offer busy students the ability to listen to your lecture while walking or driving to work. Soundcloud embeds look terrific in BbLearn, and a podcasting assignment will teach students scripting and recording skills valued in the digital workplace. Quick example:
Plus: 7 Things You Should Know about Podcasting – from Educause
- Web 2.0 Technology Tools – This hot-off-the-press article from Edutopia provides a comprehensive summary of web tools that will leave you giddy with fresh technology ideas.
- Using Google Slides? Try SlidesCarnival for slick, highly readable presentation templates.
- With Zaption, you can easily integrate gradable quizzes into your YouTube video content. Invite deeper learning by ‘pausing the video’ to reinforce an important concept.
- Brainstorm with Google Docs: Engage, inspire, and conjure brilliant ideas or solve problems using Google’s collaborative sharing applications, and then organize results or assess using concept mapping.
Academic rigor is something we hear thrown around with other educational buzzwords, but not often defined. What does it mean in a practical sense? Rigor is not just about giving harder tests, assigning more homework, or providing extra credit for overachievers. Academic rigor is about creating challenging, engaging, and engrossing lessons that encourage each student to think in new ways.
Dr. Robyn Jackson, an educational author and speaker, breaks it down into 4 principles:
“Rigorous instruction requires students to:
- Construct meaning for themselves
- Impose structure on information
- Integrate skills into processes
- Apply their skills in more than one context, and to unpredictable situations”
She distinguishes real rigor from “rigor mortis,” where more difficult work is simply taken on by the instructor, leading to burnout. Ask yourself: Are you working harder than your students? Are student tasks aligned with these 4 principles? Are students doing the thinking? Or is the instructor telling them how and what to think?
Learn more about how Robyn defines rigor in her MindSteps website.
With Summer here, and light at the end of the tunnel, maybe there’s time to think about course improvements for Fall. With better lectures, you can enhance both online and face-to-face courses. Here are 3 easy ways to make your lectures more effective and memorable:
- Improve lectures with personal stories:
Humans are wired to hear and remember stories. Adding your own personal anecdotes can perk up attention, bolster credibility, and more importantly, increase student recall. In his book “Teaching That Sticks,” Stanford University’s Chip Heath describes a student presentation experiment where he found the following:
In the average one-minute speech, the typical student uses 2.5 statistics. Only one student in ten tells a story. When students are asked to recall the speeches, 63% remember the stories. Only 5% remember any individual statistic.
- Chunk lectures into small, coherent segments.
Even the most energetic and entertaining lecturers can create too much of a good thing. If your presentations go longer than 15 minutes, students can zone out and their attention can wander. Breaking up lectures into smaller, topic-based segments is much more effective for learning.
- Target specific knowledge and skills with screencast lectures.
Rather than going to the whiteboard or chalkboard to work through problems or examples, try creating a screencast or tutorial to demonstrate topics using computer software. This may save you time in the long run; you can often use these for multiple lessons and classes, and they will benefit confused students who can watch again (and again). The success of Khan Academy is built on this model, breaking down complex topics into visual step-by-step examples.