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DECEMBER 15, 2016

Good morning,

For educators looking to refine their teaching practice, now is the perfect time to prepare for the next semester. In December's Expert Series, Mary-Ann Winkelmes, who is featured in ACUE's Aligning Activities and Assignments with Course Outcomes module, shares three key guidelines to help you get started. Check out an excerpt below!

News in brief

The latest news and opinions in higher education.

Transparent teaching. Mary-Ann Winkelmes writes that students with access to transparent instruction report a significant increase in academic confidence, sense of belonging, and skills that employers value. (The 'Q' Blog)

Southern Miss scholars. Faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi reflect on the semester and discuss their experience with ACUE's Course in Effective Teaching Practices. (Southern Miss Now)

College during incarceration. Thanks to the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program, which allows prisoners to apply for federal student aid, inmates are now able to earn degrees from select schools. (The Baltimore Sun)

Engagement abounds. Incorporating elements of contemporary culture like food, music, and television into lesson plans can increase both students' and instructors' enthusiasm for the material. (The Scholarly Teacher)

Livening lectures. Universities are personalizing lectures by decreasing the number of students in the classroom as hundreds participate remotely. (The Chronicle of Higher Education — Paywall)

Elucidating digital literacy. To increase understanding and awareness of online deception, one instructor had students create Twitter bots. (Digital Pedagogy Lab)

Effective collaborations. Grad student Anne Guarnera suggests three ways to collaborate on lesson planning: choose a compatible partner, develop a workable routine, and agree to hold one another accountable. (GradHacker)

Online learning advice. Joshua Kim offers six recommendations for building strong online instruction, with a focus on providing personal attention. (Technology and Learning)

Skills-based instruction. Competency-based programs, which focus on effectively teaching discrete skills, may transform faculty roles by dividing professors into program designers and teachers. (The Hechinger Report)

Bolstering grit. Faculty should encourage students with challenging circumstances to share their stories in order to build resilience and inspire others, psychologist Angela Duckworth writes. (Inside Higher Ed)

Studying strategies. Two cognitive psychological scientists offer six techniques to improve study habits. (Cult of Pedagogy)

Small Teaching Changes, Big Benefits
Mary–Ann Winkelmes –
You can begin laying the foundation for transparent instruction over your winter break, Mary-Ann Winkelmes writes for December's Expert Series. Identify two assignments to revise and adhere to these guidelines: 
  • Purpose: Students should understand the skills and knowledge they will gain from the selected assignments. They should also know why it's relevant to their lives. 
  • Task: Teachers and students should discuss what is required to complete the assignment. Which steps would be helpful? Which ones could be unproductive? The goal is not to pamper students, but to help them focus their time effectively on producing high-quality work.
  • Criteria: Students must understand the teacher’s expectations as well as the criteria being used to assess their learning. Students and instructors should engage in a review of and discussion about existing work examples (of varying quality) before students complete their own assignments.
ACUE partners with colleges and universities to dramatically improve student outcomes through great teaching. Contact an ACUE representative to learn more. 
© 2016 ACUE. All rights reserved.

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