Best Practices for Teaching

Preparing Students for Final Exams

Final exams can often be stressful for professors and students alike. Most students have multiple exams to prepare for and can become overwhelmed and frustrated with their studies. As a professor, there are a number of ways you can help alleviate stress and prepare your students for success. The following suggestions can help you to prepare your students to achieve student learning objectives, und.... read more

Rethinking Procedure for Plagiarism Cases

At the end of October, an undergraduate student from Suffolk University was accused of plagiarism for the use of the word "hence." Scrawled next to the word in question was the sentence: "This is not your word." The student, Tiffany Martinez, would later confide: "I am hurting because my professor assumed that the only way I could produce content as good as this was to 'cut and paste.' I am hurtin.... read more

Shifting to a Hard Focus on Soft Skills

"There's not one specific thing or skill people have to have to work for us. But I can tell you why we fire people: soft skills. We hire for hard skills. We fire for soft skills. The ability to interact and communicate with others or behave ethically and take responsibility for things tends to be where people tend to break down." Rick Stephens, Senior Vice President of HR, The Boeing Corporation.T.... read more

How to Effectively Teach Adult Students

With the recent influx of adult students, the "traditional" student body makeup has shifted; no longer are students the typical twenty-somethings, fresh out of high school, plucking away at a college degree. The "nontraditional student," or the adult student, has much more challenging needs and considerations, starting with their variety. "They may be 25-or 75. They may work full-time or part-time.... read more

Defining Your Pedagogy

The idea of selecting proper pedagogy as a professor has been stressed in academic institutions in recent years; studies have correlated higher student performance with classroom environments in which the professors are able to choose effective pedagogies based on their natural teaching styles, student ability, and teaching preferences.  What, then, is pedagogy? Typically, the term is unde.... read more

Incorporating Career Center Resources Into Your Syllabus

Many higher education institutions offer students professional development tools through their career center. A career center may provide resources such as resume review, networking opportunities, mock interviews, career fairs, or internship or full-time employment listings. Many students are unaware or do not take advantage of the resources career centers provide. Professors can help remedy this .... read more

Finding Your Teaching Style

If you are new to teaching you may wonder what your teaching style will be. Each professor develops their own method of communicating and engaging with their students. Teaching styles are comprised of a number of characteristics such as educational philosophy, management strategy, school mission statement, the course being taught, and students' learning style. Being aware of your teaching style ca.... read more

Engaging Today's Students

Today's students are incredibly diverse in terms of race, socioeconomic status, and age. About 40% of all college students are above the age of 25, according the U.S. Department of Education. Over a third of students attend classes part-time, and almost 20% work a full-time job. The numbers of enrollees at community colleges and for-profit colleges has risen to almost 40% of students. Business adm.... read more

Aptitudes, Talents and Skills: Same Difference?

Professors are often instructed to help students develop their aptitudes, talents, and skills, but the distinctions between these capabilities are critical; not all are able to be taught or learned. Read on for an explanation of the distinction between aptitudes, talents, and skills. Aptitude is the innate or acquired capacity for something. Aptitudes can range from developed knowledge, learned o.... read more

Large Lectures - Helpful Tips and Tricks

Learning that they will be teaching a 100+ person lecture is often a frightening moment for many first-time professors. Large lectures have unique benefits and detriments, and effective andragogy is critical to ensuring student learning in lecture-sized courses. Overall, professors should try to ensure active participation of students, which can help them retain and understand the material bet.... read more

New Beginnings: First Day of Class Activities

The first day of class is one of the most critical days in the semester, as it sets the tone and expectations for the course. Some professors will jam the first day of class full of information, leaving students feeling overwhelmed and fearful of the course, while other professors briefly review the syllabus and then dismiss their students half an hour early. However, neither of these approach.... read more

Prep for Success: The 6 Steps to Planning a Course

The most important part of a professor's job isn't done during the school year - it happens in the months and weeks before a course even begins! For many professors, developing a solid course plan is the key to a successful semester. This article will walk readers through the steps necessary to develop a course plan. A course plan consists of six items: (1) a class description, (2) general .... read more

Getting Off on the Right Foot: Syllabus Development

Even before the first day of class, professors have the ability to make a good impression on their students. How? Through the development of a well-designed, effective syllabus. The syllabus should contain a few items, including an outline of the subjects and topics that will be covered, and overall it should give students a feel for the course. This article will walk readers through the neces.... read more

Classroom Policies and Procedures

When developing a course or syllabus, professors often encounter a few questions they need to answer that may influence the classroom environment. These classroom policies and procedures are critical to identify before a course begins so that students can be assured of the expectations of them in the upcoming course. A major course policy that professors need to develop before the semester .... read more

Accessibility Outside of Class

Today, professors are expected not only to give students their time and attention inside the classroom, but they are also expected to spend longer hours outside of class catering to students' needs and giving individual feedback. However, methods of engaging students outside the classroom come with positives and pitfalls, so follow these tips to make sure students get the attention they need w.... read more

Active Learning: Maximizing Learning Outcomes

Professors, whether they be adjunct or tenured, know that student learning is paramount to a productive academic experience. In recent years, active learning techniques have become increasingly popular, as more and more classrooms are using student-driven learning methods to instruct students. According to the book Success Strategies for Adjunct Faculty, active learning can be defined as "a.... read more

Professors as a Model for Professionalism

While the hard skills students learn in college are undoubtedly important, soft skills such as professionalism are an equally important aspect of the collegiate experience. In order to prepare for their futures in the workforce, students must learn how to conduct themselves in a professional manner, however; a recent survey revealed that many professors feel that their students do not exhibit.... read more

Essay-Based Assignments: Do's and Don't's

For many professors within the humanities, essays or research papers will be a necessary component of assessment. Out-of-class writing assignments can provide students the chance to carefully examine a topic and produce writing on it in a fashion similar to that of academic research. The first step to measuring students on these characteristics is developing an effective essay prompt.What is an es.... read more

Negotiating Your Contract: Do's and Don'ts

So you've gotten an offer from an institution to become an adjunct professor: now what? For many professors, the answer is negotiating your contract. Negotiating your contract is critical for ensuring you are compensated fairly, and many professors find great success in negotiating their contracts. Here are some do's and don't's for negotiating your adjunct teaching contract.DO:Pick a number at th.... read more

Teaching Teamwork: A Framework for Success

Professors and students alike often approach group projects with dread and apprehension. Problems of free riders, difficulty scheduling, and lack of clear expectations can hinder the progress students make when working in teams. Follow these four tips to help teach effective teamwork in the classroom, and make sure group projects go off without a hitch.Create Teams IntelligentlyWhen it comes time .... read more

Focus and Repetition in Learning

Aristotle once commented on the importance of repetition in education by noting, "It is frequent repetition that produces a natural tendency." Many professors strive to help their students acquire new skills, and repetition can be a highly effective way to do so - for, as Aristotle mentions, it is how tasks and knowledge can become second - nature for students. Read on to learn the best practices .... read more