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

Are you Principal Joe Clark or Professor John Keating?

Are you Principal Joe Clark or Professor John Keating?

By Denise DeVary
Paralegal Studies
Delaware Technical Community College
Owens Campus

Ah, the ‘80s – arguably the best decade to be a kid.

Not only was the style so fashion forward (okay – maybe not), but there is no mistaking that the best movies of all time came from that wonderful decade.  Films like The Goonies, Karate Kid, Back to the Future, and Gremlins kept us going to the movies every weekend.   Who can forget the “Brat Pack” who dominated the screen with teenage angst.

As a teenager in the late 1980s, these movies were a rite of passage.  Then, there were the compelling stories about special teachers who forever changed the lives of students.  Never in a million years did I ever think that I would learn anything from them at that time, let alone 27 years later. Continue reading

Working Towards Better Classroom Discussions

Working Towards Better Classroom Discussions

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

I’ve always been amazed by good discussion leaders.

You know, the sorts of people who can ask just the right questions at just the right times to just the right people in order to evoke participation from an entire room.

Maybe it’s just because I don’t have much time to practice leading discussions. Despite what you might imagine, we don’t have much time for discussion in my English classes – we’ve got too much writing to do! It might be a different story if I taught literature, but my classes are pretty much focused on research and composition.

Now, my faculty development classes generally offer more room for discussion. Though, since I’ve never seen myself as much of a discussion leader, I tend to shy away from them in favor of other instructional strategies.

Recently, though, I decided it was about time to start thinking about working towards getting better at leading discussions, so I did what any bookish introvert would do: I started reading.

Now, this post isn’t going to provide an in-depth literature review of my research on classroom discussions. Instead, I’m going to give you a quick overview of two of the sources I have perused and then share a guide that I created for myself as a tool for leading better classroom discussions. Continue reading

Timers, House Cleaning, and Student Success

Ish Stabosz - mop

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

PhD student Anjali Gopal recently wrote a piece for the GradHacker blog over at Inside Higher Ed called Setting Five Minute Timers.

In her article, Gopal talks about how the practice of setting short timers for herself has helped her check off to-do lists, get started on tedious task, and ignore the temptation to do everything perfectly.

Among Gopal’s experiences that I can relate to are the following…

  • Spending a half hour agonizing over the wording of an email
  • Ignoring the boring tasks (like tracking blog statistics) in favor of the enjoyable ones (like writing blog posts!)
  • Only taking 30 seconds to prep for a meeting (and maybe sometimes less)

Her solution to these problems is the five minute timer, the power of which she sums up as follows:

Using short bursts of high-energy work can be highly effective in finishing up stale tasks, getting started on daunting projects, and in giving thoughtful consideration to rushed decisions.

As I read Gopal’s post, I couldn’t help but think of FlyLady, one of my mother-in-law’s favorite internet personas. FlyLady encourages efficient and effective housecleaning and home organization to help her followers avoid “Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome”. One of her mottoes is “You can do anything for 15 minutes”, which she uses as a battle cry to inspire overwhelmed homeowners to de-clutter for 15 minutes a day (she even sells timers emblazoned with the motto).

Okay, okay. What’s the point?

If you’re wondering why I’m writing about this on Forward Thinking, so am I.

No, just kidding. I’m getting there.

I’ve blogged about my 5-2-1-0 method for productivity in the past, but as I was reading Gopal’s post and contemplating the wisdom of FlyLady, I thought…

Wouldn’t it have been great to learn how to manage my time when I was a student?

Wouldn’t it have been helpful to learn how to organize a house before mine became a mess? (that is, exploded with children)

Seriously, I didn’t get productive until pretty recently.

I basically spent the majority of my life floundering around in all of my responsibilities until it became impossible to do so. That’s when I figured out how to get organized.

So, maybe I can do my students a good turn by helping them avoid the same pitfalls I fell into. I know I’m just an English teacher, but it shouldn’t be too hard to embed productivity tips into the course. One of the practices that Gopal mentions is to set a timer and then complete a task as if “that five minutes was the only time” she had to get it done.

That would be a quick and easy lesson to teach my students about rough drafts:

You’ve got an outline done? Good. Now pick one heading you want to work on. I’m gonna give you five minutes to write a paragraph about it. Pretend that’s the only time that you have. Ready. Set. Go.

And revision, students hate revision:

Listen up, kids. You can do anything for 15 minutes. We’ll practice it once in class today. But your final draft is due next week. Between now and then, spend 15 minutes a day revising your essay.


How about you? What are some ways that you can incorporate productivity lessons into your courses without losing instructional time?

 

“Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning” in Action – Part 5

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

Thanks for keeping up with my series on Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning by Jan Chappuis. Last time, I started my discussion of strategy 3: Offer regular descriptive feedback during the learning. In the first part of this chapter, Chappuis describes the five characteristics of quality feedback. Today, we’ll look at the rest of the chapter which offers a few specific strategies for delivering feedback to students as well as a discussion of how to make peer assessment more effective.

Continue reading

“Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning” in Action – Part 4

Feedback

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

Welcome to part 4 of my series on Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning by Jan Chappuis. Last week, we looked at strategy 2, which details how instructors can use model work in order to give students a clear understanding of the learning target. At this point in the book, we’ve learned everything we need to know to help students answer the question Where am I going?

Today, I’ll begin my exploration of Chapter 3, which explains the third strategy: Offer regular descriptive feedback during the learning. This strategy helps students to answer the question Where am I now? in relationship to their mastery of any given learning target.

Continue reading

“Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning” in Action – Part 3

StrategyPlanVisionSuccess

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

Today, we continue my series on Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning by Jan Chappuis. Last Friday, I broke down the first strategy of assessment for learning, which asks instructors to “provide a clear and understandable vision of the learning target”. In essence, this strategy is about taking your learning objectives out from hiding in the syllabus and helping students internalize them. You can do this by sharing the learning targets as they are, converting them to student-friendly language, or designing effective rubrics. Check out last week’s post if you need to brush up on any of these topics.

This week I’ll look at the second strategy that Chappuis offers: Use examples and models of strong and weak work. Together with strategy 1, this strategy helps students answer the question Where am I going?

Continue reading

“Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning” in Action – Part 2

Learning Targets

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

Welcome back to my series on the book Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning by Jan Chappuis. Last week we looked at Chapter 1, which makes a strong argument for the case that formative assessment is directly tied to student learning. This week, we’ll delve into Chapter 2, which focuses on practical implementation of the first two of the seven strategies of assessment:

  1. Provide a clear and understandable vision of the learning target.
  2. Use examples and models of strong and weak work.

Collectively, these two strategies help students first answer the question “Where am I going?” so that they are prepared to find a way to get there.
Continue reading

“Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning” in Action – Part 1

Carrot / Stick

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

Resting on my desk before me, a pale but lively shade of green, is a book titled Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning by Jan Chappuis. According to the blurb on the back cover, these three hundred twenty-one pages promise to “[change] teaching and learning and the teachers and students involved in the learning process”.

I came across this book when searching for materials for my Instructional Strategies class and discovered the first chapter published online for free. I was sold within minutes of browsing. This book discusses an instructional intervention that is widely regarded as one of the most effective means of enhancing student learning and closing the gap between low and high achievers. This book aims to take a practical look at how to implement a strategy that every teacher knows is important but cannot find the time for. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this book is about formative assessment. Continue reading

A Synopsis of “How Learning Works” (Part 6 of 7): Students’ Current Level of Development Interacts with the Social, Emotional, and Intellectual Climate of the Course to Impact Learning

How Learning Works (part 6 of 7)

by Cory Budischak
Energy Management Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

We’re in the home stretch of my synopsis of How Learning Works by Susan Ambrose et al. If you want to catch up on the previous posts in the series, check them out here. In part six of seven, I’ll be examining the next to the last principle offered in the book: Students’ current level of development interacts with the social, emotional, and intellectual climate of the course to impact learning. As in previous posts, I’ll start by summarizing the authors’ analysis of this principle based on three questions. After that, I’ll address a fourth question of my own: How do I plan to incorporate this into my own instruction? Continue reading