On Course Strategy

On the first day of each learning plan in class, provide students with a list of topics/key words to know (or assign ahead of class time). In my case it was medication information for nursing pharmacology. Have students start with different sets of meds so they are not all working on the same. Have half the class be an Eagle, the other half Hawks. Pair students up into an Eagle-Hawk team. Continue reading

Survey Says…

survey says 2

The question is, “What do students get out of participating in the High Impact Practice of Cooperative Learning?” Before getting to the survey results, let’s set the stage.

The final capstone of Teaching Methods 2.0 challenged me to analyze a negative situation in my classroom and develop a vision of the desired future reality, then implement an intervention. Continue reading

What Would You Do?

Suppose you have been hired as a wellness specialist by a mid-sized company. Despite the work site’s clean exterior and neat appearance, your environmental assessment reveals that the work environment is unhealthy due to wide-scale smoking, vending machines filled with junk food, and cramped work areas. Your supervisor asks you to recommend specific changes to improve the work environment. What Would You Do?

In the classroom I like to use What Would You Do? (WWYD) activities, like the above example. These are activities that focus on a particular situation the student will likely face in his / her professional career. When implementing the WWYD activities you can use a variety of tactics:

  • Structure some portion of the weekly instruction or out-of-class assignment around a particular WWYD exercise.
  • Use a WWYD exercise as an end-of-the-chapter platform for individual students or teams to use for in-class or online discussions, presentations, debates, and so forth.
  • Use a WWYD exercise (or an adaptation) as a possible exam question.
  • Consider having students critique the relevance or applicability of a particular WWYD scenario in various professional settings (i.e. industry, size, locations).

Perhaps you have other options that you’d like to explore in using the WWYD exercise. Whatever they might be, I encourage you to use your imagination to get the most from each WWYD exercise.

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.

Continue reading

“But, I can’t graduate if you don’t offer that course!”

What to do?

When tough choices are made about what courses to run and what courses to cut, students can feel pretty vulnerable and instructors can feel both powerless and responsible.

 “It was great learning different things in multiple classes – I greatly appreciate this class.”

More and more, when we hit these impasses, we turn to technological advances to fashion a response.  We push the limits of our resources and dream up futuristic advances to somehow meet the needs of the student. With two recent program curriculum changes, I ended up with nine students in need of three different program classes. I felt responsible, and my interim director gave me the power. Forget about technology!

“It was fun to have the classes combined.”

We implemented the ultimate interactive experience: the one room school house!  We did forgo the slate and chalk, but all that was great about the one room schoolhouses of the past permeated our learning experience. Continue reading