Encouraging Full Participation in Section

by Suzanne Scoggins, International and Area Studies (Home Department: Political Science)
When a few students dominate, it diminishes the opportunity to hear different voices. This pattern, once established, worsens with time, and by the end of a semester, only a handful of students may be participating in section…Once I began asking groups of two to participate in section, I noticed a marked improvement in overall participation rates. Prior to using this strategy, a “good” section was one in which about half of the students spoke in class. After focusing on groups of two, I found that an “average” discussion was one in which all but one or two students spoke up.

Problem Solving and the Random Number Generator

by Justin Hollenback, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Based on the mistakes the students were making, I felt that the example problems I presented weren’t conveying the material as well as I wanted. Students did not appear engaged or actively learning during lecture. In response, I developed a strategy … to make the process of working out example problems in class more interactive.

Elusive Allusions: Discovering Kafka in Coetzee

by Sarah Mangin, English
We spent a few minutes venting about our most memorable Kafkaesque ordeals, from S.A.T. testing nightmares to transcript requests … By cultivating a collaborative environment for thinking about literary allusiveness, our class found opportunities to make these references first familiar and then potent.

Policy Consulting Simulations as a Tool for Understanding and Applying Economic Concepts

by Anna Rubin, Public Policy
Assigning students to small groups leveraged the economics background that many students brought to this class by putting them in the role of a peer teacher… This structure…help[ed] students struggling to understand core concepts…[and created] opportunities for all students to apply these concepts to public policy questions.

Making and Supporting an Argument

by Margot Szarke, French
Many students feel challenged when asked to analyze a literary or cinematic work because there is a certain amount of intellectual freedom involved in the task… How can a text or film be successfully and meaningfully interpreted in multiple ways? How can references and textual details be used to effectively build up an argument?

Engaging with the Thesis Statement: Developing Metacognitive Skills

by Jennifer Johnson, Linguistics (Home Department: Education)
I needed to develop in-class peer review and self review activities that assist students in exploring, understanding, and contesting feedback. … How do I help students develop metacognitive skills — in other words, reflect on their reflections?

Encouraging Deep Learning in an Introductory Course

by Jessica Shade, Integrative Biology
I saw several examples of this disparity between surface learning of principles and working comprehension. For instance…students…had no problem calculating allele frequencies and genotype ratios using the Hardy Weinberg equations, but they were…baffled by the simple question, “What does this mean?”

Teaching Students How to Create a Picture Worth a Thousand Words

by Julie Ullman, Molecular and Cell Biology
Precision in language is an unspoken tenet of scientific disciplines, and it is fair to have strict requirements for that in exams. Yet the question arose: How could I help to level the achievement gap between students who worked in science and had extensive, confident scientific lexicons and those who didn’t, while at the same time challenging everyone?

Applying Economic Concepts to Environmental Problems

by Shanthi Nataraj, Agricultural & Resource Economics (Home Department: Economics)
I noticed that the students’ analyses of environmental issues in their problem sets improved. Most students still stated strong opinions about environmental issues – but now, they were able to back up their opinions with economic reasoning.

Creating a Research Community

by Natalia Cecire, English
The project was designed to produce a scholarly community that would provide an intellectual context for research findings. Yet because the community was composed of students, all with similar experiences with nineteenth-century literature, the debates occurred in terms that were meaningful to the students at their particular stage of exposure to literary criticism, rather than in the remoter terms of my discipline.