Teaching Causality through an Experiment

by Ashwin Mandakolathur Balu, Public Policy Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2021 Using experimental methods to establish causal relationships has been the holy grail of research in social sciences. However, it is a challenge to teach these concepts since it requires knowledge about sampling methods, statistics, and probability, as well as Continue Reading >>

Permission to be Confused

by Samuel Nicholas Ramsey, Group in Logic Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2017 In my first year of graduate school, a math professor confessed to me that it was only late in their graduate school career that they learned that most mathematicians spend their time feeling completely confused. This should be Continue Reading >>

Reading Quizzes: a Mild Technological Innovation

by Jeffrey Kaplan, Philosophy Teaching Effectiveness Award Essay, 2017 In my experience, there is one problem that plagues higher education, especially in the humanities and social sciences. It is not a subtle problem. But it prevents progress in virtually every area of the educational and classroom experience. If this one Continue Reading >>

Intuition Is What You Need to Take Home!

by Caroline Delaire, Civil and Environmental Engineering
I quickly realized that the class generated a lot of anxiety. Students, undergraduate and graduate alike, were surprised and challenged by the quantity of equations and algebra involved in lectures and homeworks. I helped them the best I could with solving problem sets, but at the same time I started to understand that by focusing on algebra and equations students were at risk of missing the point of the class: gaining practical knowledge about water chemistry. They were simply not developing the intuition that would help them address real world environmental issues!

A Solution for Inclusion: Keeping Advanced Students Stimulated Without Leaving Others Behind

by Nadia Kurd, Molecular and Cell Biology
I was frustrated to find that any time I catered to the more advanced students and presented more challenging topics, the rest of the class struggled to follow along; whereas when I continued to conduct class at a level where most of the students were comfortable, the advanced students again lost interest. In an attempt to remedy this problem, I decided to try to develop “interactive” worksheets for class.

Incorporating Active Learning and Technology into Teaching Economics

by Marquise McGraw, Economics
I innovated by…creat[ing] an exercise that required students to integrate multiple concepts and skills to solve…This type of activity proved to be much more effective in promoting student learning than the standard “chalk and talk” delivery.

Instilling Effective Study Skills in Students: Start Early, Know Your Weaknesses

by Jennifer McGuire, Integrative Biology
Despite my efforts, the students continued to struggle with the exam material. It seemed to me that, despite my making the study material available to them, most of the students would not take advantage of it or study in a timely manner unless they had some graded incentive. The next semester when I taught the course, I decided to try to help my students achieve better test results by getting them to study for the exams earlier. To do this, I changed the way in which I quizzed the students.

How to Encourage Lecture Attendance through Discussion Activities

by Mathew Wedel, Integrative Biology
The most serious problem I encountered was the tendency of students to skip the lectures. Many students assumed that that they could get all the information they needed in lab or discussion sections, or by reading the textbook on their own time… I needed a way to encourage students to attend lecture, something that did not rely on the nebulous threat of poor performance on future exams.