The Thesis Statement as The Key to Unlock Essay Writing

by Julia Lewandoski, History Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2018 After several semesters as a GSI and Reader for history classes, it has become clear to me that a concise, clear, and specific thesis statement is essential to a successful student paper. Developing a strong thesis statement enables students to frame Continue Reading >>

Review and Revision

Be clear about what “review” and “revise” mean, and give your students in-class practice with essay drafts.

Using Students’ Design Work to Teach Design Theory and Criticism

by Shawhin Roudbari, Architecture
When students brought their own work to this “theory class” they crossed a threshold…It’s one thing for students to read that postmodernism in architecture was partly a post-Fordist reaction to a modernist ethos. It’s another thing for them to situate their own work in an un-periodized historical context of the present.

Anatomy of an Essay

by Lynn Huang, English
I realized that students did not understand the difference between evidence and analysis in their own writing….I introduced the idea that we can “dissect” and analytically color-code an essay in order to make its internal structure visible, and to determine what makes it an effective (or ineffective) paper.

Improving Biology Papers through Peer Review

by Christopher Clark, Integrative Biology
We had the students perform a double-blind peer review of each others’ papers during the final lab session. This is similar to the way scientific papers submitted to a journal are reviewed by peer scientists… By seeing (or overhearing) mistakes their peers were making, students became aware of ways they could improve their own papers. They also received nearly instantaneous, in-depth constructive criticism of their reports.

A New Approach to Teaching and Learning

by Timothy Randazzo, Ethnic Studies
Last summer I made the decision to alter my approach to teaching radically, and the result was the highest level of analytical thinking and enthusiasm among my students that I have ever seen in my six years of teaching…I decided upon three principles to guide my formulation of class activities and assignments: 1) there will be no lectures, 2) there will be no exams, and 3) whenever possible, student work will be reintegrated into the class, rather than being just “for the instructor.”

Breaking the Mathematical Language Barrier

by Alexander Diesl, Mathematics
The ability to write mathematical proofs is not a result of genius but rather of an understanding of the language of mathematics. Students think that they lack fundamental understanding when they in fact lack only the ability to translate their intuition into mathematically precise statements.

Using the Peer-Review Process to Stimulate Classroom Discussion

by Bryan Zeitler, Molecular and Cell Biology
One thing I find particularly frustrating is achieving a meaningful class dialogue after student presentations. Despite repeated calls for questions or comments from the class, it is not unusual for me to be the only one speaking after a student talk…[so] I implemented a written and oral peer review process that encouraged students to actively participate during and after student presentations.