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Teaching Resources|Brown Bag Discussions

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Phone: 307.766.4430

resources indexBelow are a list of topics faculty and graduate students may find useful as resources for teaching students at UW (especially first- and second-year students).  These topics are subjects of Brown Bag Discussions that LeaRN began hosting in 2006.  If you would like to see current Brown Bag Discussions being offered, click here.



UW Course-Specific   top

Strengthening the "L": Tips and Approaches for Information Literacy Courses

For faculty outside of librarianship, it can be a challenge to integrate generic "information literacy" learning outcomes into a disciplinary context-and to design meaningful assignments that meet both programmatic and USP "L" objectives. It is also quite challenging to offer meaningful research assignments at a developmentally appropriate level for first-year students.  Teaching Tips and Guides

Integrating College-Ready Skills: Making the Most of Intellectual Community Courses More on I-Courses

In 2009 five instructors participated in a LeaRN grant project focusing on integrating college-readiness skills into their I-courses. In the first segment of the project, participants discussed ways to help students understand the purpose of the I-course, as well as the University Studies Program (USP) structure in whole.  Teaching Tips and Guides.

Transitions   top

Revisiting the Reading Leap from High School to College

In 2008 and 2009, teachers across the state of Wyoming met to discuss reading trends at the secondary and college level and participate in cross disciplinary workshops focused on approaches to teaching critical reading. These productive discussions revealed several specific areas where the reading transition from high school to college is most "steep" for our students.  Teaching Tips and Guides

What Students Won't Expect: Transitioning into First-Year Coursework

It's fairly common for instructors planning first-year courses to inadvertently imagine their students as possessing characteristics of older students- envisioning the incoming students as showing the thinking skills of twenty-year olds. While it's true that eighteen year-olds are capable of great things, significant growth happens between the ages of eighteen and twenty. By anticipating some of the biggest transition challenges, instructors can create effective bridges for first-year students. Teaching Tips and Guides

Considering the 1st Year Experience at UW

Effective university programming and classroom teaching hinge largely on a single idea: meet students where they are at. Understanding students, though, is a multi-faceted task that involves gaining students' perceptions about their learning and engagement in college as well as determining their ability to master the learning goals of various disciplines. Teaching Tips and Guides

Advising Tools   top

Why College: Helping Students Imagine More Than a Job

During June Orientation 2009, LeaRN surveyed 1,076 incoming UW students about their expectations for college. In response to the open-ended question, "Why are you pursuing a college degree?" 72% named job or financial reasons-and most listed only these as motivations for attending college.

There's no question that career interests have long been a major factor in the motivation to attend college. But, to what extent has the economic downturn (as well as cultural shifts toward professional or "product" outcomes for college) served to shrink development of intrinsic goals? Teaching Tips and Guides

Limited time? Make the most of your advising appointments

With advising week approaching, even seasoned advisors can feel overwhelmed with the thought of balancing classroom demands in addition to meeting individually with advisees.  This session will focus on reminders, best practices, and resources in advising by outlining and discussing a developmental advising approach. Teaching Tips and Guides

Reading & Writing   top

Moving Beyond the Buzzword: Teaching Students About Critical Thinking

In recent texts exploring critical thinking at the college level, some scholars have suggested that "critical thinking" is better approached and defined as a disciplinary outcome (Beyer et. al). This argument suggests that generic definitions of critical thinking ignore the weighty influence of context in forming pedagogical goals. Does attempting to articulate shared higher level thinking goals across disciplines continue to hold value?  How do faculty from different disciplines at UW describe and infuse critical thinking into their courses? Teaching Tips and Guides

Teaching Critical Reading at the College Level

Key Ideas; devote the last part of class to awakening students' interest in the next reading.  Create ½ page reading guides that point students to key passages in a text and help them better understand the context or "conversation" the text is part of. Eventually, let students take some responsibility for creating reading guides. Teaching Tips and Guides

Learning Communities   top

Synergy and FIGs: Learning Communities on Campus

If you're an instructor or an advisor, chances are you've encountered a student in one of our Learning Communities.  What is a FIG?   Who are Synergy students?  How do learning communities contribute to the University of Wyoming? This Teaching Tips and Guides will provide some background and assessment of two of UW's Learning Communities.  The April 23rd Brown Bag will address even more questions, concerns, and suggestions, so be sure to join us!  Teaching Tips and Guides

The Impact of Hyperbonding: Exploring Student Relationships Within Courses 

While instructors of close student cohorts are resoundingly positive in their response to the benefits and pleasures of teaching a tight-knit group of students, attention to less productive outcomes resulting from "hyper-bonding" have influenced more thoughtful instructional approaches to student cohorts. At its most negative, hyper-bonding can result in: group-prompted separation from other students, disruptive behavior in class, groupthink, and/or antagonistic relationships with instructors. Teaching Tips and Guides

In the Classroom   top

Supporting Academic Honesty in Lower-Division Courses

At the beginning of a semester, students have the best of intentions about their courses. They aren't planning to take major shortcuts that involve plagiarism on papers or cheating on exams. By the end of a semester, however, some instructors report being discouraged by problems with plagiarism. Why do students stray from their good intentions? What can instructors do to help students maintain high ethical standards in their work? Teaching Tips and Guides

Improving Classroom Discussion

Include a rationale for class discussion on the syllabus-highlight the idea students share responsibility for "making meaning" in the class.

Avoid the creation of a "pecking order" of student voices by using round-table techniques in the first week of class. At the beginning of class, pose one or two compelling questions or statements and ask every student to briefly respond or "pass" (this is most effective when students are not seated in linear rows). Teaching Tips and Guides

Using Peer Review Effectively

A student who is reviewing a fellow student's paper writes the following as the only comment: "It looks good. I like the examples."

Sound familiar? In a national survey of 560 teachers of writing and 715 of their students, Sarah W. Freedman found that many teachers were discouraged with peer review because they had difficulty getting students to respond effectively to one another's writing.

The students also complained about the writing responses, saying that their peers' comments were too vague and unconstructive. The result is that students and teachers move away from peer review, an unfortunate outcome because the potential benefits of peer review can positively impact student learning. Teaching Tips and Guides

Teaching the Craft of Note-Taking

Strong note-taking is often a hidden skill in the first and second year of college, one that even advanced students struggle to master in different courses. This session will focus on practical strategies for teaching effective note-taking, including conceptual listening skills and question-based notes.  Teaching Tips and Guides.

Learning Through Inquiry

Particularly for entering college students, engagement is closely linked to the level of immediacy or “real world” impact students perceive in course topics and assignments. This session will introduce strategies for re-imagining course material with an emphasis on inquiry focused learning. Teaching Tips and Guides

Strategies for Approaching Controversial Issues in Classroom Discussion

Many instructors’ first reaction to “hot” moments in classroom discussion is extreme discomfort. The prospect of mediating controversial issues, aggressive speakers, or escalating emotions among students can lead teachers to avoid (or try to divert) charged discussions. However, hot moments in class discussion offer prime teachable moments. Join us to consider several strategies for setting up ground rules at the beginning of the semester as well as important tips for handling sensitive conversations in class. Teaching Tips and Guides

Working With Students   top

Approaching Difficult Students

Teachers who encounter difficulties with one or more students in a class often report that they had an inkling of conflict very early in the semester. However, teachers generally take action only when the situation has escalated, often beyond help. Like most relationships, inspiring civility in challenging classroom situations is best encouraged through laying early groundwork.  Teaching Tips and Guides

Looking at Generation Me

In 2006, Jean Twenge published a book titled Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, and Entitled-and More Miserable Than Ever Before. The book has created significant stir among university faculty and Student Affairs professionals and has sparked a discussion about the interaction
between GenMe students and university faculty and staff. Teaching Tips and Guides

Supporting International Students in the Classroom

As higher numbers of international students choose UW for their studies, faculty increasingly seek guidelines for supporting students in writing and research skills, and for drawing on international students’ perspectives in class discussion. This session will highlight strategies from both students and campus experts for re-envisioning classes that include international students. Teaching Tips and Guides

Asperger's In and Out of the Classroom

At many colleges and universities, the number of students with Asperger's Disorder continues to increase. While these students have the intellectual abilities to be successful, they struggle with understanding social cues and comprehending unwritten rules and procedures. They may be teased or laughed at by other students. As a result, these students pose unique challenges to faculty members, administrators and other students during their college careers. Working successfully with Asperger's students requires an understanding of their behavior and knowledge of how to communicate with them. In this program, Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D., will offer recommendations for helping these students to succeed.  Webinar documents & links


Teaching Tools   top

Teaching with StrengthsQuest

Strengths-based education involves a process of assessing, teaching, and designing experiential learning activities to help students identify their greatest talents, and to then develop and apply strengths based on those talents in the process of learning, intellectual development, and academic achievement to levels of personal excellence.  The Teaching Tips and Guides also includes a brief description of each Strength and the 60 in 60! handout for in-class activities.  Teaching Tips and Guides

What Map-Works Reveals about UW Student Behaviors and Academic Success

What is the correlation between hours spent studying and academic performance? How do students’ expectations for college habits influence their success? In fall 2010, freshmen at UW began participating in Map-Works, a fall survey that assesses students’ behaviors and expectations and sends participants an individualized report. In aggregate, students’ responses also offer a look at how early behaviors influence academic success and overall integration at UW.  This session will present data from the 2010 Map-Works results, including the degree to which study habits, connection with professors, and academic expectations actually influence classroom success.  Teaching Tips and Guides

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