15-Minute Find Archive

  • In each ITL newsletter there are fundamental tips on a variety of topics. These topics serve to support a dynamic and learning-centered environment at YSU. They also provide valuable resources for faculty and staff to encourage student success.

    To find out more, please review the material below.

  • Revive Student Attention

    November 2nd, 2022

    This is the point of the semester where, unfortunately, we start to see attendance dwindle, students' attention drifting, and class discussions becoming more subdued. How do you get your students more engaged and keep their attention on continuing to build their skills? Try one (or all) of these three ideas to renew student attention:

    1. Shake things up--do you usually save your activity to the end of the class? Try doing the activity first. Usually lecture? Try 10 minute lectures interspersed with short activities. Or, get your students physically up and move around the classroom--anything that will be unexpected to your students will renew their attention. 

    2. Grow discussion participation--there are a number of reasons that students don't talk in class. Consider how to get those quiet students talking, or use more provocative discussion questions.

    3. Pull back the curtain--students are more engaged when they understand your motivations, as well as how the content is relevant to them. So, when you discuss the assignment, tell them why you designed it that way.  And when lecturing, be sure to answer the "so what" about the topic.

    Book an ITL consult if you'd like to discuss student engagement strategies!

  • Mid-Semester Student Check-In

    October 12th, 2022

    As we approach the eighth week, a "Mid-Semester Student Check-In" can be a great tool to find what is working and where your course could benefit from adjustment. The literature says that asking students for mid-term feedback promotes positive student behaviors, improves learning, and increases instructor confidence and motivation.

    While there are many variations on this feedback tool, the most simple is the Stop-Start-Continue method. The questions to ask students are:

    1. What, if anything, is interfering with your learning? (STOP)

    2. What suggestions do you have to improve your learning? (START)

    3. What is your instructor doing that helps you learn? (CONTINUE)

    You can put the questions on the board/screen and use an index card that you collect in person, or duplicate this free MS Forms Template (MS Forms guide).

    Finally, report back to students a few key findings. It is okay if you choose not to implement all feedback (e.g., cancel all exams!), but let them know what you will or won't do moving forward.

    Book a consult with ITL if you'd like to learn more or use an alternate method!
  • Writing Letters of Recommendation

    September 28, 2022

    It's that time of year--the weather is cooler, the leaves are starting to turn, and your students come knocking asking for letters of recommendation (LOR). Check out these tips on writing LORs adapted from this Society for the Teaching of Psychology article:

    1. Find exemplars (like these or Google search)

    2. Provide guidelines to your students on the process Consider FERPA issues and information release permission

    3. Collect additional info from the student for a strong letter

    4. Be thoughtful and selective with language use (avoid racial or gender bias)

    5. It's okay to say "No"

  • Add Name Pronunciation in Blackboard!

    May 13th, 2022

    As you're heading into the summer semester and want to make sure you know how to say your students' names (and they know how to say yours), check out this new Blackboard feature ITL learned from the Department of Cyberlearning! Click on the link to see a two-minute how-to video, and feel free to share with your students too. Good luck with your summer classes!

  • Power-Up Your Lectures

    April 13th, 2022

    We're coming down the home stretch of the semester! Keep your students engaged by adding a small tweak to your lectures! Check out this infographic from the Scholarly Teacher for a few new ideas--we especially like the ideas of posting short videos of difficult concepts on Blackboard or using quiz games (at YSU we have Slido on Webex!) for end of term review.

  • Faster Grading with Rubric Codes

    February 11th, 2022

    Drowning in a mountain of papers? Try using rubric codes. 

    We are almost 1/3 of the way through the semester, which likely means that your grading pile has been growing quickly. If you use rubrics on assignments, consider using this tip from Jennifer Gonzalez from the Cult of Pedagogy to speed up your grading--use rubric codes. The basic idea is that you assign codes to each line in your rubric, which allows you to write more codes, and less longhand, in your feedback. Click here for a short rundown.

    Don't use rubrics? ITL can help with that--check out this rubric introduction or schedule a consult with us.