Foster Students Intrinsic Motivation - How?

  • instead of composing a course description that simply explains what the course will cover, think about composing a course description that is framed around why the course covers those topics - perhaps to answer some authentic and relevant questions students should be asking as they enter the class. This subtle shift can determine how students will engage with the content. 
  • I.e., How can you build the world's tallest building, safely? How do pre-judgments determine decisions about whether you like someone after an introduction? How can we stop the spread of disease? What makes someone an American? Why is your soda fizzy? Questions like these can drive course design in directions that invite students intrinsic motivation to answer them. Keep in mind, these questions will vary in detail, depth and complexity depending on the course level.

Mastery versus Performance Learning - What is it?

“Students with mastery orientation seek to improve their competence. Those with performance orientations seek to prove their competence.” -Schraw, G. (1998). Promoting general metacognitive awareness. Instructional Science, 26, p. 122.

- excerpt from Mastery and Performance Orientations(link is external), The Teaching Professor, Thursday, October 22, 2009 by Maryellen Weimer

A mastery orientation means that students believe that they have some control over factors related to learning. They believe that they can learn, that hard work and efforts pays off, and that they have or can acquire strategies that will help them learn. They don’t give up easily when a learning task challenges them. Those with performance orientations see learning as something beyond their control. Generally they equate it with ability and after several failed attempts to learn something, they decide they can’t do it—that no matter what they do, they won’t be able to learn math, learn to write, learn to paint, learn to ski, you name the skill.

Use Frequent, Low-Stakes Assessments - Like what?

  • break-up a mid-term into several short quizzes (each quiz can still ask questions about a previous unit as knowledge builds, and actually should be comprehensive to a degree, but decreases pressure when spread out across assessments)
  • adapt a paper or project assignment into smaller parts due throughout a semester, culminating in the final paper or project
  • ungraded formative assessments - minute paper, muddiest point paper, think-pair-share

Build Student Self-Efficacy - How?

  • create a brief survey you can give to students at the end of the term; ask them what grade they expect to earn and what study strategies, reading strategies, assignment completion strategies/processes they relied on to earn that grade. In future semesters use this feedback early on to show students how their peers have succeeded in the class

Prepare Students for Ethical Considerations in the Field/Profession - Examples?

  • when teaching the research ethics course in Molecular and Cell Biology, Professor Howard Schachman tells students multiple stories of scientific research fraud, often motivated by money and conflicts of interest, couched in the frame that a lack of integrity has ramifications that could cost human lives