Practical teaching and classroom management tips

5 Time Management Tips

Tick tock: “You’re burning daylight!”

I have yet to come across a college or university that requires all students to take a course in time management before they graduate.  It’s mind boggling! We in the United States require our students to take a whole bunch of General Education (GE) courses that they’ll rarely, if ever, use after they graduate, but we won’t require them take courses on topics that they will need and benefit from every day of their life during and after college. Courses like: money management, personal financing, and time management.  Some of these students eventually become professors never having learned how to manage their time effectively.

I meet a lot of faculty who want to get a lot of things done. They want to accomplish great things in academia but find themselves working around the clock and barely accomplishing anything. They’re able to meet the basic obligations of their duties and nothing more. Why is it that some faculty seem to be involved in so many exciting activities and projects, in addition to teaching, while others are barely keeping their heads above water? (more…)

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How To Avoid Group Work Complaints: 4 Tips To Follow!

Photo of students working in a group
CC Image courtesy of Matheson Learning Commons on Flickr

Ever wonder why so many students hate group work? If you were like most students in college, the thought of group work was something you did not look forward to either.  Why?  Well, there are a number of reasons.

Being in a group meant:

  1. making concessions and giving up control of a portion of a project or assignment
  2. having the performance of other students in the group affect your grade
  3. being possibly stuck with one or more losers who never do any work and still end up with the same grade as everyone else in the group
  4. having to rearrange your schedule to accommodate the availability of others in the group


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Managing Group Projects: 8 Things You Should Do!

Show them the impossible and inspire them to get there. They deserve it!

So you’ve assigned your first group project and thoroughly explained the requirements to your students and you now want to make sure that your students are productive and efficient. Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to facilitate the interaction and progress of each group.

1. Raise The Bar

Before assigning the groups, it’s important to set the tone for the quality of work you expect from students. Raise the bar high, and your students will meet it and possibly exceed it. Set the bar too low, and you’ll be disappointed with the quality of your students’ work, and they’ll never really know what they are truly capable of achieving. Never make the mistake of assuming that a student’s socio-economic background, age, or cultural background will prevent them from achieving spectacular results if they are properly trained and prepared by you.


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Disciplinary Action: Keeping It Professional!

Disciplinary Action: Keep It Professional!
Disciplinary Action: Keep It Professional!

Every now and then you’ll find yourself in a position where you’ll need to address unacceptable behavior on the part of one of your students. Some of these behaviors include: cheating, plagiarism, sleeping in class, lying, being disrespectful, disruptive, or abusive. Whichever the case may be, it is always disappointing when students engage in these types of behaviors, and at times, you may feel frustrated, angry, or even helpless.  At times like these, it is important to remember that an improper behavior on the part of your student, does not warrant an in-kind retaliatory response on your part.

I’m not saying you should ignore the behavior, on the contrary. I’m a strong advocate for addressing unacceptable behavior immediately. What I am saying is that your personal feelings towards your student’s behavior should not be the basis for your response. It will be difficult in the beginning to try to be completely impartial and to remain emotionally detached from the situation, but it gets easier with time and practice.

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10 Ways to Increase Student Engagement Online

Online classes can be remote. Reach out to your students.
Online classes can be remote. Reach out to your students.

One of the challenges that faculty teaching online (or hybrid) courses face is designing their courses so that there’s frequent and active engagement between the student and faculty and also between the students themselves. Why? Because as a faculty, you are required to be able to afford the same level of engagement online that you would in a traditional class where students meet with you and each other in person.

Some faculty are under the false assumption that teaching online is easy, and all you have to do is tell students what you want them to read or study and then have them complete assignments and quizzes to demonstrate their competency or mastery of the learning objectives. That is NOT teaching! Nor does it qualify as a distance learning course that would be eligible to pass the scrutiny of your regional accrediting body. That format may qualify as a correspondence course but not for a distance learning course. (more…)

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3 Ways To Avoid College Student Problems Before They Occur

CC Image courtesy of Nick Farnhill on Flickr

There are numerous articles on the internet that address this issue, and some are better than others. The tips I am about to share with you are strategies that have worked for me, and I hope they’ll work for you as well. I’ve found that most student-related-problems fall into two broad categories: 1) behavioral problems and 2) academic performance. Most of the behavioral problems can be mitigated before they even start in your classroom. How?

I’m glad you asked! In a nutshell, “Nip it in the bud!” Take action from the very beginning, and address potential areas of concern before they even occur.

Here are 3 ways to do just that! (more…)

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How To Plan Your First Course: 5 Tips For New Faculty

Write down what you want the students to learn and then how you’ll teach them.

Planning a course for a brand new faculty can be an overwhelming experience. It can be especially overwhelming if this is your first time going through the process. And even more so if you have not had the opportunity to participate in a TA program and be mentored by seasoned faculty. But, there’s no reason to fret.  This article will cover a few simple things you can do to help you plan your first course without stressing and getting overwhelmed. (more…)

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Why I Chose To Teach

Dr. Fawaz Al-Malood

I spent most of my earlier professional career in the hospitality industry, and I am often asked why I decided to switch careers and teach.  The short answer is passion for training! I began entertaining the thought of teaching when I first entered college.  I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to become a professor. As an undergrad, my goal was to work my way up to the position of a General Manager within a 5-star hotel and then retire early so that I can teach. I loved the hospitality industry and was passionate about working in operations. However, something happened during my tenure within the industry;  I was given the opportunity to train a young man, and for some reason, the hotel that I was working for at the time could not locate the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manual for the department.  Without a formal SOP or task list, I had to develop my own SOP and training material for this young man.  It was like developing an entire course from scratch, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The training plan I was putting together was supposed to be a two-week plan, but the trainee was able to learn and master his new job in less than a week.  I realized at that point that I was good at developing training materials and teaching.  And more importantly,  I loved it!  I gained more satisfaction from training another person than from anything else I had done within the industry.  It was at that point that my professional career goal began to shift, and I decided to pursue a career in academia as soon as I was done with grad school. (more…)

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