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Midweek Mentor Blog

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Rethinking Classroom Lectures

By Wayne Nelson and Jayme Swanke

December 21, 2015

In this time of austerity and uncertainty regarding budgets for higher education, consider this option: remove all podiums and lecterns from classrooms and sell them to offset the budget shortfall. This isn’t just my idea. Chris Buddle made the suggestion earlier this year in a blog post (Buddle, 2015), but I expanded it by suggesting the sale of podiums and lecterns. In fact, my idea doesn’t go as far as one suggested by Joe Redish from the University of Maryland. He says that &#822...

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Blog on Better Assessments Through Blackboard

By Jennifer Albat (IDLT)

October 07, 2015

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and let your students take their quizzes or exams through Blackboard. Congratulations, and welcome to the dark side (cue the wicked laughing). I kid of course. You’re concerned about students sitting side-by-side working together, or even worse – taking pictures with their phone! These are valid concerns, some of which I hope to ease if you agree to keep reading.

There are some simplistic features within the test options that alleviate a...

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Are You Ready for Online?

By Matt Schmitz

September 09, 2015

While online learning continuing to increase and permeate all levels of education, some faculty and students are still reluctant to teach or learn in the medium. Often their concern is based on lack of comfort with various forms of technology but their apprehension frequently stems from an unfamiliarity with pedagogical and behavioral approaches.

Unlike traditional, face-to-face education, online teaching and learning often requires more individualized activity on the part of the faculty and st...

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Helping Students Succeed in Online and Hybrid Courses

By Emily Keener

September 02, 2015

The MidWeek Mentor session for September 2 is about how we can help students succeed in an online course. Take a look at this survey that highlights the benefits and challenges of flipping the classroom, which often means taking some portion of a face-to-face class into the online realm:
What do you think? Can flipping help your students succeed? Respond in the comments b...

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Teaching Unprepared Students

By Bryan Duckham

April 15, 2015

Some students come to SIUE less prepared for the rigors of college and/or are at-risk for significant failure or struggle. For many of these students, high expectations and high support can buttress their weaknesses and help them build skills. While not every student is willing or able to take advantage of support and meet course expectations, it is important to remember that it is never too late for many students to build skills and become successful. 

The following are important consider...

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Top 5 Lessons I’ve Learned from Teaching Online Classes

By Sarah VanSlette

March 25, 2015

Many professors at SIUE are starting to wonder whether online teaching is right for them. I began asking myself that question about 7 years ago, and now I know, after years of creating and revising online courses at 3 different universities, that teaching online courses offers unique challenges and unique benefits. In no particular order, here are the top 5 lessons I’ve learned from teaching online classes:

1. Professors have to work hard to show positive feedback and emotions.


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Student Multitasking in Class—What to do about it?

By Lynn Bartels

March 18, 2015

If any topic is guaranteed to get faculty riled up, it’s the topic of student multitasking in class. During many classes, students are distracted by their phones and/or laptops.  Student multitasking in class is a common occurrence. In a study of Marketing undergraduates, 94% reported receiving texts during a class, and 86% reported sending texts during class, and about a third of students surveyed believed that they could text and follow along with a lecture (Clayson & Haley, 2013). ...

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Free Tools for Education

By Jennifer Albat

February 25, 2015

If you’re into finding the latest and greatest free technology to enhance your students’ learning experiences then you are in the right place. These tools help you flip your classroom, create PowerPoint presentations that are more engaging, and make assessing your students’ knowledge a breeze.  


This app is for receiving instant results on a formative assessment. QR codes are printed on sheets of paper for the students to...

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How to Make Lectures More Participatory

By Cathy Santanello

February 11, 2015

Incorporating a variety of techniques to get students to participate may enhance discussion. Let’s face it - we feel energized after a great lecture/discussion in our classes, right? The following is Twenty Ways to Make a Lecture More Participatory from the Derek Bok Center:

I’d like to comment on some of the things that usually work for me that are addressed in this document. My examples will be from my Microbiology ...

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Innovative Pedagogies for 2015

By Wayne Nelson

January 28, 2015

Is your teaching working the way you want it to?

The landscape of higher education currently features many changes in how and where learning happens. This is occurring for various reasons, including budget pressures as well as student preparation, preferences and goals. Advances in learning technologies also afford new approaches such as hybrid courses (partly online, partly traditional classrooms), social networking tools that support communities of practice, collaborative knowledge-building a...

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Creating Writing Habits for the New Year

By Sharon McGee

January 01, 2015

As academics, we often think of the “new year” as the beginning of the academic year, but January is also a good time to start new, productive habits. I find that many faculty, particularly at a teaching-first institution like SIUE, find it difficult to sustain their writing during the semester. After all, having a classroom full of faces staring at you is motivation to prep for class and fielding constant questions about “when will our papers be graded?” encourages us to...

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