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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips are quick resources you can implement in your classrooms. The tips vary from building community in the classroom, to classroom management or metacognition strategies. The CTL will announce a teaching tip of the month. If you wish to receive these tips by e-mail, complete this subscription form.

To request a consultation on utilizing a teaching tip you are interested in, complete this Consultation Request Form.

Helping Students Articulate Knowledge and Skills

Students, and particularly those in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, often struggle to articulate their knowledge and skills to prospective employers.

Your college or university’s career center may have worked with local employers to identify the skills they most desire in students. Boise State University’s Career Center, for example, among other things, analyzing and interpreting information, collaboration, communication, problem solving, and taking initiative. (more…)

Nearpod for Deeper Learning

In looking at my university’s Student Course Evaluations recently, I came across the following statement about one of my classes: “This is the best class that I have ever taken. I learned so much and have so much information to take with me into my new career. You take your time to make sure that students understand the information. You are the best teacher that I have ever had on this campus. All the horror stories were lies.”

Want to get students to read the assigned readings ahead of time? Tired of lecturing and death by PowerPoint? Running out of class time to actually have students apply their skills and knowledge? (more…)

Know/Don’t Know/Do Charts

“An education isn’t how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It’s being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don’t.” Anatole France, Nobel Prize-winning author

At the end of a class period, the end of a section, or when helping students review for a test, have them create a “Know/Don’t Know/Do” chart. This technique serves two purposes: (1.) to help students identify gaps in their knowledge and understanding, and (2.) to provide students with the opportunity to take responsibility for identifying the best ways to gain the missing knowledge and understanding. (more…)

Planning Your Time to Provide Feedback on Assignments

“Good Practice Gives Prompt Feedback. Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses.”  Chickering & Gamson.

Thinking About Time

Students crave and deserve prompt, meaningful feedback about their academic assignments. However, providing feedback quickly can be a challenge for teachers. In project-based courses, student success may depend on timely guidance with sequential assignments.

As I plan courses for the semester, I think about how I will use class time and grading time.

  • I consider the alignment and weigh the relative value of assignments in course outcomes.
  • I change the course assignments to reflect a realistic relationship between student learning and time (my time and student time).
  • I develop efficient assignment grading strategies (rubrics, templates, checklists).
  • I incorporate peer feedback activities.
  • I use automated feedback from online quizzes and games.


Activities for the Last Day of Class

Given the frantic pace of the semester’s end, we often rush into final classes without much forethought. We try to cram in too many concluding “essentials,” breathlessly remind students of impending due dates and rubric criteria, or trudge through an overly detailed and less-than-stimulating review for the final exam.

Here’s a different approach: View final classes as an opportunity for reflection. Something (many things!) were learned, tasks were accomplished, barriers were overcome. Perhaps one or more of the following ideas might help you and your students pause and consider the journey you’ve taken together over the course of the semester. (more…)