Tips to help prevent and manage cheating in the classroom

Tips to help prevent and manage cheating in the classroom

By Jennifer Williams
Human Services
Delaware Technical Community College
George Campus

Teaching comes with many rewards as well as some challenges.  One of the challenges many of us may face is how to handle when a student cheats on an exam.  We as instructors offer support to our students in a variety of ways to help them be successful on the exam.  This support can include interactive reviews, study guides, and insight on some of the essay exam questions that will be on the test.  As an instructor, when I became aware of a student cheating on an exam it made me ask why did the student cheat when I provided so many ways to help them be successful?  If the student was struggling why wouldn’t they reach out to me?  Is there anything more I could have done to help the class feel better prepared for the exam?  I have come to realize that cheating may be something that inevitably occurs in the college environment.  I have to remember that we are dealing with young adults who may struggle to accept responsibility for their failure to adequately prepare for the exam and resort to cheating out of desperation for what they believe will be a dire consequence if they fail the exam. After experiencing cheating from my own students, I decided to do some independent research to offer these tips to prevent and manage cheating in the classroom. Continue reading

Incorporating Service Learning into Human Services Courses

Incorporating Service Learning into Human Services Courses

By Malinda Hudson
Human Services
Delaware Technical Community College
Owens Campus

Sussex County is expanding with new housing developments breaking ground every day and new businesses generated to accommodate the needs of a larger population. People are choosing to migrate to this area, some for business, others for recreational purposes, and still others who have chosen to retire and enjoy their life of leisure near the beach. With that, services are also growing to meet the needs of the increased populace.  This steady growth in both businesses and residences has brought with it numerous opportunities to incorporate service learning into human services courses. Continue reading

Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

By Rachelle Hawtof
Math Department
Delaware Technical Community College
George Campus

Ever gone on a really long car ride?  I don’t care how old you are, we all think the same thing at some point in the ride.  Are we there yet?  How much longer?

Unfortunately, I think this is the way many students feel about the developmental math classes they are required to take.  They don’t see the utility or the fun in mathematics.  Instead, it’s a long tedious drive.  Continue reading

Using a Free-Form Lab: Chaos or Learning?

Using a Free-Form Lab: Chaos or Learning?

By Erin Hanlon
Mechanical Engineering Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

Recently in my Friday afternoon class (who thought Friday afternoon was a good time to lecture, anyway?), as students’ eyes glassed over, one of them asked that we do a lab instead of the lecture that I had planned.

Having not planned a lab activity for that day at all, initially I hesitated to deviate from my carefully constructed plan. I didn’t have anything to give them to do, so how would this work? Would we just be wasting an hour of class time playing around with the lab equipment? What could they possible get out of this?

Knowing that flexibility is important (and realizing that I had already lost at least half of the students’ attention, anyway), I decided to allow the class to spend the remainder of their time working collaboratively in a ‘free lab’ setting. I gave some general guidelines so that they would be using their time constructively and using the equipment safely, but otherwise, I let them create their own goals and expectations. Once they had decided what they were trying to accomplish, I approved their plan and they started building.

In all of the previous labs that we had done in class, the students had very specific directions and measurements that were required. They weren’t coming up with suggestions or designing their own experiments.

When working during their free lab time, students were allowed to set things up and see how they worked differently when changes were made. They had the chance to notice how the decisions that they made based on their previous coursework altered their outcomes. They were also forced to justify their choices and think about the decisions that they were making instead of strictly following the steps provided to them.

I found that using a free lab approach provided a valuable lesson in problem solving and hypothesizing that was missing from the previous lab exercises. Students were able to exercise their system design skills and see that it wasn’t just plopping together a bunch of pieces to see what works. This was a much better representation of what technicians or engineers would be doing in the ‘real world,’ and having them get a glimpse of that in the classroom was very valuable.

This is a lesson that I will implement with intention into future courses. I believe it was successful in providing hands-on learning in a format different from what students were used to being exposed to and more realistic to what they can expect in the future.

Tips for Making Amazing Videos on Your Smart Phone

Tips for Making Amazing Videos on Your Smart Phone

By Jerry Pearson
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Terry Campus

Whether you are recording live footage in your classroom to add to your teaching portfolio, making an educational demonstration for your students, or just snapping a quick video for fun–these tips should help you get the most out of your smart phone’s video recorder. Continue reading

The Mindset Module in Education: Helping Students to Find Their Big Why

The Mindset Module in Education: Helping Students to Find Their Big Why

By Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

If you are a hobbyist, an entrepreneur, or just a lifelong learner looking to explore new territories of expertise, you may have come across one of the ten million online courses floating around the internet.

Usually it happens like this. You’re interested in golf or something, so you do a search on Google for something golf-related. You click around on a few sites. Then for the next SEVEN MONTHS you get targeted with ads on Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Twitter for some online program that will help you master your golf swing or something like that.

Okay, maybe my examples aren’t exactly dripping with showing details. Obviously, I’m not a golfer. Continue reading

Communication Skills for Nurses: Engaging Activities to Use in Your Classroom

Communication Skills for Nurses: Engaging Activities to Use in Your Classroom

By Kimberly Hopkins MSN, RN
Nursing Instructor
Delaware Technical Community College
Owens Campus

One of the many foundational skills that I strive to pass on to future nursing students in one of my pre-nursing courses is effective communication. In this post, I want to share a few activities that I use to make the topic of communication skills for nurses as interactive as possible. How else can communication be taught if not interactively? The goal of these activities is to show students that there are many ways to communicate in nursing.

The first activity involves the following picture. Take a look at it and note what you think the drawing depicts.

 

Kimberly Hopkins 1

Do you see a mouse or an old man? When I display this optical illusion to students, I ask them to explain what they see and then debate over why the picture shows one image over the other. The goal is to help them understand that perception isn’t always objective, and that communicating a difference of perceptions isn’t always easy.

In the second activity, I divide the class into pairs, with one student acting as the patient and the other as the nursing assistant. The patients leave the room for a little while while the nursing assistants study the following image:

Kimberly Hopkins 2

When the patient returns, the nursing assistant’s job is to describe to the patient how to draw the picture without ever having seen it. The catch is that the patient isn’t allowed to ask any questions. Once everyone has had a chance to give it a try, I show them the correct image and let them discuss their results.

We then do variations of the same activity with different images. In one method, the patient is allowed to ask questions – but no hand gestures are allowed. In another, the nursing assistant is not allowed to give verbal directions, and must instead write the directions down while the patient is still outside of the room.

These activities provide students with a chance to realize that communication comes in many forms, and that these different forms can lead to different misunderstandings. The variation in which students are forced to use written directions, for example, often reveals that not everyone has the same understanding on how many sides to an octagon!

All in all, these activities to reinforce communication skills for nurses are great fun. They prepare future nurses for the workplace by helping them realize that communicating with their patients isn’t always as easy as as they might expect.

Why I Added Research,Writing, and Presentation to My Math Class

Why I Added Research,Writing, and Presentation to My Math Class

By Rachel Chase
Mathematics Department
Delaware Technical Community College
George Campus

After attending an undergraduate research conference, I was inspired to implement a research driven assignment into the statistics courses I teach. Over the last few semesters of trials and tribulations, I have learned much about what works and what doesn’t. Continue reading

Let the Students Teach

Let the Students Teach

By John Burbage
Bio/Chem Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

If you have ever taught a class in an accelerated format, you know how hard it can be to keep the student’s attention for three, four, or even 5 hours. To keep the students engaged, I like to include a project that requires the students to become the teachers. Let me share with you an example that I have used in a five hour Environmental Science class. Continue reading

After the Flip: What to Do With All That Extra Class Time

After the Flip: What to Do With All That Extra Class Time

By Kate Lind
Nursing Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Owens Campus

After teaching in the K-12 sector of education, I was initially shocked at how difficult it was to involve active learning at the collegiate level.

At the high school level, I developed a Medical Program, using Learning Focused Strategies (LFS) as the delivery system. This meant concept mapping to encourage students to make connections and understand vocabulary, activities to break-up the monotony of a block class, and many formative assessments to ensure students were doing more than treading water.

Coming into higher education was eye opening, but I discovered we are teaching such heavy content that we have to find a delicate balance of creating a foundation with information and engaging learners in various ways. Continue reading