Category Archives: In The Classroom

Standardized Test, biologycorner

My Relationship with Multiple-Choice Exams

I have a complicated relationship with multiple-choice (MC) questions. Their main failing is that they are fundamentally limited in their ability to assess a student’s understanding of the material. I have often found myself writing questions with answers “A and C,” “All but D,” and “None of the above,” in an attempt to make MC questions that aren’t obvious, despite being awkward or overly complicated.

 But…MC questions are easy to grade. This is the crux of it. For a large class, they are almost a necessity. This gives me a guilty conscience. Continue reading

"Globe" by Judy van der Velden

A Reflection – The International Student at UWGB

Just the other morning, I woke up feeling my neck muscles sore and painful. I knew it was a problem with my pillow and my sleep position, and that this was a temporary discomfort for a day or two. I knew the Chinese words for this symptom; “But how do you say this in English?” I asked myself, and I did not know – I was not born and raised in the U.S., and English was not my first language. Continue reading

glases3

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and Know What the Small Stuff Is

When teaching, there is a diverse array of factors that an instructor has to be aware of. On a class to class basis you have to be sure that you have the right amount of content, that you provide opportunities for active learning and that you build in factors to increase engagement. When it comes to more of the minutia of class management, an instructor also has to make a lot of decisions in advance about what the norms for appropriate classroom behavior will be. These can range from behaviors more directly related to learning and attention such as the use of laptops, texting, and attendance, to factors such as eating and talking to neighbors, which may not be as directly tied to attention. Continue reading

Lamu, Kenya: Electricity Corporation Suggestion Box by Flickr user Lindsay Bremner

Mid-Semester Surveys

One of the most frequent comments I hear about teaching online is how hard it is to know how it’s going. Without those physical cues of light-bulb smiles, slouching students or confused faces, it can feel that you’re teaching into a vacuum for 14 weeks. And whatever your opinion of online CCQs, the results arrive too late to impact the students in front of you now. If you’ve shared this frustration, consider offering your students an informal mid-semester survey. Continue reading

cheats

Students Do What With Pencils and Bottles?

Cheating never crossed my mind when I was a student. Not once while in grade school, high school or college.  In my mind you don’t cheat, you just don’t go there.  In fact, my sophomore year in high school I walked into my health class and saw there were numbers with associated letters written in pencil on the desk.  I freaked out! Were these the answers to that day’s quiz?  I could not have erased them fast enough! Continue reading

1933 - Grandma's 10th grade report card - Strum, WI by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos

Online Student Success

As a faculty member and an advisor I often get students asking me about whether or not they could be successful in online courses. The answer is usually, “yes,” with several qualifiers such as, “as long as you can effectively manage your time,” or “as long as you can stay motivated to do your best throughout the course.” These are often my thoughts, rather than solid research-based answers. Continue reading