Faculty Focus


Our Top 11 Most Popular Articles for 2011, part 2

It wouldn’t be the end of the year without a few top 10 lists, but this year we’re taking it one step further with the top 11 articles of 2011. Each article’s popularity ranking is based on a combination of the number of comments and shares, e-newsletter open and click-thru rates, and other reader engagement metrics.

On Monday we counted down from number 11 to 6. Today’s post reveals the top five most popular articles, starting with number 5.

5. Five Common Pitfalls of Online Course Design
Much of what passes for an “online course” these days could more accurately be described as the electronic version of class hand-outs. These courses usually consist of a course description, a syllabus, lecture notes, reading lists, and assignment checklists. In other words, whatever materials a student might have viewed on paper in the past are now read onscreen, and whatever presentations a student might have watched in the classroom are now observed on their screen. Continue reading »

4. Questioning Skills to Engage Students
The right questions enable the teacher to more accurately evaluate if the students are truly attentive and if they understand the material. In addition, open-ended questions motivate students to share their ideas, thereby allowing active, collaborative learning to take place. This illustrates the need to be able to ask the right sort of questions to engage students. Continue reading »

3. Giving Students More Effective Feedback
Do you pass back exams, a set of papers or grades on some other student project and offer generic comments on what the class did and didn’t do well on the assignment? Most of us do, and for good reasons. The feedback gives students the chance to compare their work with that done by the rest of class, which can build more accurate self-assessment skills. But do students listen attentively as you provide this feedback? Continue reading »

2. What Students Want: Characteristics of Effective Teachers from the Students’ Perspective
Researchers asked their students what characteristics they think are essential for effective teaching. Analyzing and combining reasonably synonymous characteristics, researchers then isolated the top nine for online and for face-to-face students. Can you guess the number one trait? Continue reading »

1. What Does Your Syllabus Say About You and Your Course?
Syllabi can convey messages that build rapport between the teacher and students, and they can help create community among students. I know courses need policies, students need guidelines, and some students take advantage of teachers, but I wonder if we don’t err on the side of being too defensive in our syllabi. Continue reading »