Posts by racheljohnsonnwtc

Due Date Banner

I have been finding a lot of ways to use the Snipping Tool lately.  If you click on the Start button on the bottom left corner of your computer screen and type snipping tool in the search box, you can access the tool or pin it to your taskbar, which I do for quick access.  The tool copies the image on your screen for the area that you want to capture.  You can save the image or just copy it into an e-mail or document.  For my online class I am starting to capture the week or two we are on from the course calendar, saving the image, and then making it the banner for the course.  So, when students enter the course they will see the due dates for that week or upcoming weeks.  To set a banner in Blackboard, once the image is saved with the snipping tool, you would click on Customization, then Teaching Style, and insert the image in the Select Banner section.  I hope my online students all look at the calendar on a normal basis along with keeping up with my reminder e-mails, but this is just another way they can visualize what they should be doing that week and make things a little clearer for them.  Below is an example of what it ends up looking like.

Due dates banner

Adding Study Skills into Introductory Classes

I recently attended the annual NADE (National Association for Developmental Education) conference and was inspired by a session to incorporate more math study skills into my class. Since going through On Course and teaching College 101, I have wanted to more concretely incorporate these principles into my classes. Typically, I would think that I don’t have time to fit teaching my students study skills in an already packed list on concepts to cover. But, after thinking about it realized this can be done by modelling within class and creating tasks to be at the same time as doing homework and studying. I will just assign tasks that students should be doing anyways to be more efficiently doing work outside of class time and by giving them a few points for it, they will be forced/have incentive to do. Showing a quick example of the “right” way to take notes or study in a math class will not take up much more class time within the limited number of hours I have with them but will add a lot of value. Hopefully the strategies will stick for each student and will help them be more successful in math and all of their classes. Some examples of the tasks I will have students do in my developmental math classes this fall are below:

  • Creating a weekly schedule, setting aside specific times to work on each class
  • Organizing class materials in a binder
  • Preparing for class ahead of time by reading the book, taking some minimal notes, and jotting down questions for in class
  • Working with a study group
  • Finding helpful websites for when you get stuck on a problem
  • Studying for a test by making flashcards
  • Attending instructor office hours or the math lab
  • Going back and correcting incorrect problems on an assignment (even if it’s not for more points)

On Campus Involvement

Last week during Spring Break I was enrolled in Living Inclusively. There was so much that I got out of the class about my own experiences and influence. One thing that I was better about when I first started at NWTC but have not been making the time to do lately is keeping current with what is happening on campus in terms of events and clubs. We had a panel of staff that represent student organizations and a panel of international students during the week and we came up with some strategies for how to help increase awareness and participation on campus. Here are a few ideas (most came from my classmates or the panelists so I do not take full credit):

  • Share a link to student organizations in your syllabus and on Blackboard. Pull it up on the first day of class while going through the syllabus. (
  • Give general encouragement to students to participate in clubs and organizations and point out the benefits.
  • Share a link to the event calendar in your syllabus and on Blackboard. Pull it up on a regular basis at the beginning of class. (
  • Bring the student planner with you to class to reference some of the events that are going on.
  • Bring your class to an event when applicable or make it a class requirement or give extra credit for attending an event. It may be best to have the students write a summary and reflection to be sure they are fully engaging in the event and reflect on the experience afterwards.
  • Invite some of the international students to your class when applicable.

These are just a few ideas that I and the class discussed. Please share any other ideas you have used or want to try.