Posts by Melissa Wilke

An Exit Ticket for Lifelong Learning

exit ticket

Do you remember the infamous Father Guido from Saturday Night Live? He had a popular skit called the “5 Minute University” where he joked about starting his own college that took just five minutes, since the average college graduate only remembers five minutes worth of information five years after finishing school. Continue reading

Learning About Learning Communities


“The instructors in the learning community along with my peers have pushed me to do the best that I can as well as become stronger in my employability skills.” –NWTC First Year Student

Learning communities (LC) are a high impact practice that “generally involve a group of students taking two or more linked classes together as a cohort, ideally with the instructors of those classes coordinating course outlines and assignments as well as jointly reviewing student progress. Learning communities build a sense of academic and social community and increase engagement among students and faculty, all of which lead to a variety of positive outcomes” (Achieving the Dream, 2015).

Research, including in-depth studies from MDRC and colleges across the United States, found these positive outcomes to include everything from increased satisfaction and greater use of support services to improved retention.

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Connecting Course to Career: Employability Skills in the Classroom


Helping students make the connection between a college course and their desired career isn’t always an easy task, especially for those that teach in General Studies. At the same time, many students fail to see the critical importance of the employability skills (aka core abilities) that we’re all integrating and assessing in our classrooms. I’ve been using a simple activity in my Oral/Interpersonal Communication class that could easily be adapted for most other courses to assist students with these very issues. Continue reading

Staying On Course Through Student Self Assessment

We all know the value of feedback and assessment; it’s part of the job as an instructor, even if it’s not our favorite part of the job. There are many creative approaches to meaningful assessment in any class, but a tried and true favorite of mine has always been student self-assessment. Being able to recognize one’s own strengths and weaknesses is a core value and important employability skill (360 degree feedback, anyone?) Nicely timed, it’s also closely related to Downing’s On Course principles, giving many of my in-class self-assessments a much-needed facelift. Continue reading