Week 3 Summer Teaching Tips

What are your students thinking about your class?  These links refer to first-day activities, but these simple strategies would also work well at this point in the semester:

A questionnaire and a quiz

Gauge student expectation…

Gauge student misconceptions early on

Are you having trouble with students using technology in your classes?

Smart phones in the classroom? Let students decide.

Today’s Lesson: Life in the Classroom Before Cell phones

One of the outcomes of the CTL is to create a communities of learners. We want to create opportunities for faculty to learn together and for faculty to create community within their classrooms. Research has shown that student-student and student-faculty interactions are important for student retention and persistence. Using teams/groups in our classes is an excellent way to create community. Groups can be informal (e.g., think-pair-share) or more formal and structured.


Do you want your student teams/groups to be more effective? Try adding more structures to your student teams/groups. Two of the leaders in cooperative learning research, David and Roger Johnson, are at the University of Minnesota, and the resources listed below are based on their work.

How is your group project like the zombie apocalypse?

What is cooperative learning?

“Cooperative Learning involves structuring classes around small groups that work together in such a way that each group member’s success is dependent on the group’s success. There are different kinds of groups for different situations, but they all balance some key elements that distinguish cooperative learning from competitive or individualistic learning.”

Five key elements of cooperative groups

One strategy that is helpful for individual accountability is to assign roles. These may be specific to a discipline (e.g., shop manager, safety officer, etc.), to a project (e.g., farmer, business owner, taxpayer), or more generic (e.g., timekeeper, recorder, summarizer). To help students develop group skills, using placards might be helpful.

What is the best way to form teams/groups?

Research has shown that random teams work best. You could count off in class, use playing cards to place students by numbers or suits, or use D2L to form random groups. This article suggests other strategies.

How can I assess team/group work?

  • Check out the AACU VALUE Rubric for teamwork. Designed by teams of faculty, you are encouraged to modify them for your needs. Level one is what might be expected from a first year student, level two is for a second year student, etc.
  • If you are interested in using the VALUE rubrics for assessment in your classes, contact Cheryl Norman for more information.

How can I use D2L to help me include teams/groups in my classes?

Students can be placed into D2L groups either by you or randomly in D2L. Then, the various tools can be linked to the groups. For example, discussion forums/topics can be restricted to groups and grades can be entered by groups. For more information, contact the eLearning team via the Digital Resource Lab (DRL@minneapolis.com).

Where can I learn more about cooperative learning?

How can I get relevant, confidential and timely feedback on my teaching? Request a 5&5 Assessment! For more information, or to place your request, please contact: ctl@minneapolis.edu by no later than Friday, July 10th. Due to reduced Summer CTL credits, availability is limited.

What are upcoming faculty-development opportunities?  Check the Events page of the CTL website.

CTL just announced a Summer Teaching Circle on the topic Syllabi (re)Design.

How can I learn more about using D2L in my classes?  Contact drl@minneapolis.edu

Where can I get help with teaching or other parts of my teaching role?  Email ctl@minneapolis.edu

If you have ideas for future Teaching Tips or would like to write a guest blog post for the CTL blog, please contact Jennifer.Sippel@minneapolis.edu Thanks!

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