Higher education news and 5 principles to provide effective written feedback for your students.
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The 'Q' Newsletter

February 25, 2016

Good morning! In this week’s news roundup you'll find several questions to ask yourself about unmotivated students, a push for computer science courses at liberal arts colleges, and how some community colleges are trying to help underprepared students. Plus, on The ‘Q’ Blog: We highlight research-based strategies that can guide instructors in providing effective written feedback to support student learning.
Speaking of feedback, have you told us what you think of this newsletter? Help us improve it by completing this brief survey.

News in brief
The latest higher education news and opinions.

Cultivating a positive relationship with students and making their work more relevant to their lives are among several ways faculty can help increase student motivation. (Cult of Pedagogy)

Exam guidelines are most effective when they are aligned to course goals, transparent, and fair and equitable for all students. (Faculty Focus)

George Washington University is among several schools seeing a boom in applications after scrapping a requirement that prospective students submit SAT or ACT scores. (Washington Post)

Faculty members are best equipped to lead efforts to design interventions for students with deep developmental needs, according to two community college leaders. (Inside Higher Ed)

Because they lack built-in support from family, first-generation and low-income students often require specialized and targeted support from their colleges and universities to succeed once on campus. (New York Times)

Video: In this clip from the Aspen Ideas Festival 2015, watch what professors, engineers and journalists think people can do to become better learners. (The Atlantic)


Liberal arts colleges are seeking to incorporate programs to help faculty members introduce computer science in their own courses. (Inside Higher Ed)
Graduate programs devote tremendous energy to delivering content knowledge while pedagogy is all but ignored, despite the fact that many graduates will teach at some point in their careers, a professor blogger writes. (Higher Ed Professor)
Listening can be a challenge in an anxiety-inducing situation like a job interview, but it’s a crucial component. A career services director offers strategies for conquering such obstacles. (Inside Higher Ed)
Although there is more to learning than regurgitating facts, memorization can be an important tool for developing your students’ content knowledge and expertise. (Faculty Focus)
It is important to encourage students to read well, not simply to read, at a time when they face greater pressure to meet other important obligations. (Teaching & Learning in Higher Ed.)

Video: The way institutions assess students’ readiness, place them in courses, and guide them through developmental education reveals some promising but not yet widespread innovations, explains the director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement. (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Research Roundup

The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching has published a literature review of effective written feedback. The author, Dr. Michael Howell, an associate professor at Appalachian State University, has identified five essential, research-based principles of written feedback for college instructors to follow: 

  1. Provide timely feedback
  2. Provide balanced feedback
  3. Provide developmental feedback
  4. Provide direct feedback
  5. Provide instructive feedback

Read more about the principles and Howell’s research on The ‘Q’ Blog

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