College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Art and Art History

Tamara Brantmeier uses various critcal thinking strategies to help students create their own meanings. 

Tamara Brantmeier

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Desiring to help students “create connections” between contemporary art practice and practices used in various historical periods, Tamara has her students identify paintings of different time periods and compare them to contemporary pieces so that they better grasp the concepts that underlie the practice. When students ask questions, Tamara turns the question back on them, asking them to find the answer. As a result, they more effectively comprehend the topic and this method allows the students to become better researchers, plus it shows them just how wise they really are. In addition, she requires students to use their sketchbooks to record the research and process that goes into creating a work of art. Tamara shows examples of historical and contemporary sketchbooks, encouraging students to find the best method of documentation for their unique creative process.

James Bryan talks about various teaching methods he uses.

James Bryan

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Teaching Strategy Video(s)
Student Collaboration and Contribution to Course
Focusing on Topics Students Perceive as Important
Struggles and Benefits of Working with Participatory Approaches

As he has advanced as a teacher, James has re-educated himself in an effort to find new ways to teach and new art-related examples to use. In his art survey course (110 students), he lectures with illustrations and gives in-class quizzes to encourage student engagement. For his upper level courses, he allows students, with some supervision, more autonomy in choosing the material they feel they should know and be tested on throughout the semester and for the final. In fact, he uses study teams to identify textbook concepts, takes their nominations into consideration, and then condenses them into a set of fifty slides to be learned by the end of the semester. This process gives students ownership in the agenda and scope of the class. James also requires student teams to complete research projects and present their findings as well as read, discuss and summarize text content in an effort to elicit student thinking about epistemology in the field of art.

Andy Ducett talks about teaching drawing.

Andy Ducett

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Desiring to treat his students as “human beings with different experiences, talents, and knowledge,” Andy provides an overview, demonstrates it, and then has them duplicate it as he goes around the room, one-on-one, seeing each student at least twice. He also incorporates sports, movies, and any means of showing figures in motion, once even hiring a string band to play in class so that students could hear the music and draw the performers’ gestures.

Amy Fichter

Amy Fichter

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Teaching Strategy Video(s)
The Noticing Technique

In an effort to improve students’ life drawing skills, Amy developed the teaching strategy: “Noticing.” This technique allows students to respond to the prompt, “What I notice is . . .”, encouraging them to comment on each other’s work in a less superficial and judgmental way. When students get these comments, they have to write what they would do differently. Amy also uses student-created blogs to help them respond to each others’ work and build a sense of community.

Charles Lume

Charles Lume

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In an effort to help students find their own definition of the past and present as well as provide them with a medium in which to explore their relationship with religion in art, Charles created assignments that require students to interpret genres associated with past art that portrays heaven, hell, and before-and-after the fall in the garden. This is meaningfully connected with modern-day genres, resulting in a valuable experience given the vast array of student backgrounds and the variety of interpretations that have emerged.

English and Philosophy

Leslie Bowen talks about using the D2L quiz function in her classes.

Leslie Bowen

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Teaching Strategy Video(s)
Promoting Student Discussion
Getting Students to Think Outside the Book

To help her students learn course material, Leslie uses the quiz function in D2L, not as a test but as a way to open discussion. Students take the quiz with open book and open notes, and they can work together. The quiz is based on their reading and may, for example, ask them to identify parallel structure and then find a sentence in their essay that would be improved by using that structure. Leslie also has conferences one-on-one, and finds that eases students’ minds about the class and because she believes in the value of group discussion, she also actively uses the D2L Discussion Board option. She sets up groups and the members do peer review on the discussion board, read and critique each other’s essays. Students receive points for posting their work and for giving feedback.

Mike Critchfield talks about helping his students become better writers.

Mike Critchfield

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Using existential philosophy as an organizing principle, Mike discusses fictional and dramatic works with his students in ways that have a direct and fascinating link to their daily lives. In his Business Writing course, he incorporates his previous entrepreneurship experiences, preparing students for the kind of writing they will actually perform in their careers. Mike also uses a variety of tools available in MS Word to help students help themselves become better writers, plus he has them read the Flesch-Kincaid reading measure under Options in the Spellcheck function. Be sure to check out additional teaching strategies used in his Business Writing courses!

Jerry Kapus talks about enhancing student engagement.

Jerry Kapus

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Teaching Strategy Video(s)
Narrated Slide Lectures: An Alternative Approach to Instruction for Online Courses
The Creation of Narrated Slides
Instructor Perspective on Narrated Slides: Tips and Advice

Key strategies that Jerry uses to enhance student engagement are to learn their names and to relate course content to their personal life experiences. These strategies tend to draw students into a greater understanding of the course material. As an early adopter of online teaching, he has used technology extensively including using animated slide lectures—PowerPoints to which he adds audio. To encourage additional engagement, Jerry is also considering incorporating blogs and wikis.

Social Science

Kate Thomas

Kate Thomas

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Teaching Strategy Video(s)
Streaming Videos: Intriguing Students to Learn
Allowing Students to Analyze What They Are Seeing
Benefits to Streaming Videos

To further develop student learning in her various history courses, Kate uses a variety of teaching strategies including assigning written essays, small group work, and online PowerPoint lectures. Requiring students to research and write essays is one of her favorite strategies because it helps promote deeper understanding of how to interpret and effectively use primary sources rather than simply report information. Students cannot receive a grade until they come and talk to Kate one-to-one and only after they jointly read the paper, will students be assigned a grade. After that experience, she often finds that they tend to be more conversant in the classroom. Check out Kate’s additional examples of how she makes history come alive in her courses!

Speech Communication Foreign Languages Theatre and Music

Amanda Brown discusses the one-minute essay.

Amanda Brown

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Teaching Strategy Video(s)
An Instrument for Teaching
Student Speeches Enhanced with Videos
Sharing Lecture Time with Videos

Since most students dread giving speeches, Amanda tries to help her students understand the “why” behind their assignments. She likes using the one-minute essay, requiring students to write about a topic and discuss it, first in pairs and then as a group. The group work lessens individual presentation anxiety and helps build community. Amanda also uses YouTube to help students learn how to deal with website issues, identify trustworthy sites, and recognize examples of good and bad speaking.