Sunday, September 27, 2015

Inside the Teaching Professor: August/September

The Teaching Professor includes summarized articles from various educational publications, as well as original articles from university and college instructors. If you are interested in reviewing articles in this and/or other publications, please stop by the CTE, TLC 324, where you can read in a comfortable setting and enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Continuous and Rapid Test (CaRT): A Simple Tool for Assessment and Communication 

In this article, the authors discuss a technique, CaRT, to assess student understanding of course material in almost every class session. Instructors give each student a 3x5 card as they enter class and instruct them to answer the 2 or 3 questions on the overhead/board. These questions pertain to material covered in the preceding class. On the back of the card, students may include any concepts or material that they feel are difficult or confusing. After collecting the cards, the instructor reveals the correct answers to the questions.

Before the next class, the instructor reviews all of the cards taking note of how well students were able to answer the questions, and how well each student was able to understand recently covered material. If only one or two students appear to have some difficulty, the CaRT process allows instructors to either review material with the entire class or to invite those one or two students to review the material during office hours. “CaRT can help teachers feel the ‘pulse’ and progress of the class on a day-to-day basis and help in monitoring attendance. It encourages students to come to class prepared and reduces procrastination.”

Dam, Tarun K., and Purnima Bandyopadhyay. "Continuous and Rapid Test (CaRT): A Simple Tool for Assessment and Communication." The Teaching Professor Aug/Sept. 2015: 1. Print.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Teaching Tip - Study Skills Videos

The purpose of LCC’s Operation 100% is for every student to reach their degree, certificate, or transfer goal. Unfortunately, many students don’t arrive in classes fully equipped to meet those goals. Educators have known for a long time that students who “know how to learn” and can self-regulate their learning activities are more successful; faculty can support students who lack such skills by helping them acquire those self-regulating behaviors (VanZile-Tamsen & Livingtson, 1999).

One simple way faculty can help students develop such self-regulating behaviors is directing them to existing videos explaining the study skills students need. Search YouTube for short videos that address a specific skill your students need. For instance, you may want to share a video about overcoming test anxiety or how to effectively read a textbook. You can share them with students in a number of ways:

  • Have students watch an appropriate video as part of their homework or at the end of class. Then direct students to use the technique in preparing for the next class. Provide a task that both reviews course content and has students reflect on how they used their new study skill to effectively learn the material.
  • If you are hesitant to take up class time, consider creating a custom D2L widget with an embedded study skills video. Remember to change the video regularly.
  • While students are entering the room, play a video that could provide them with the study skills relevant to upcoming course work.
  • Embed a link to a study skills video in your syllabus. For example, you can provide a link about proofreading or plagiarism if your syllabus emphasizes such issues. Include a question on the syllabus quiz about the video.
While many such videos exist, my favorite online purveyor of college success advice is "The College Info Geek," Thomas Frank. In addition to his YouTube videos, he also tweets advice under the handle @ThomasFranky as well as produces a blog and podcast that can be found at

VanZile-Tamsen, C., & Livingston, J. A. (1999). The differential impact of motivation on the self-regulated strategy use of high- and low-achieving college students. Journal of College Student Development, 40(1), 54.

If you would like to share your ideas or learn more about study skills videos, Stop by the Center for Teaching Excellence (Room 324 TLC) or email Leslie Johnson at

Friday, September 4, 2015

Change Up Your Presentations with New Fonts

Microsoft products come with a standard set of fonts, and you probably have your favorites.  But did you know that there’s a whole world of different styles out there that are free and easy to use in your documents and presentations?

FontSquirrel is a site that collects high-quality fonts which are available to download for free. 
If you find a font you like on the site:

1.  Check to see that the font is a True Type Font (TFF).  True Type Fonts are more likely to work properly when embedded into Microsoft files. 

2.  Click the Download button below the font. The font files will download as a zip file.
2.  Once the download is finished, double click on the font file and the file will open.  Click on Install at the top of the window.  

You may be presented with files for Regular, Bold, Italics, or other versions of the font.  Each one must be installed separately if you want these options.

3.  The next time you open Word, PowerPoint, or any other Microsoft product, you can choose the new font from the list.

Note:  If you use a custom font and plan to open the file on another computer, you must embed the font in the file.  Directions for this process can be found here.  In my experience, there are some True Type Fonts that will not embed correctly.  It’s best to test the process by embedding the font and opening the file on another computer before you attempt to use your presentation in class.

If you want to learn more about fonts, visit us in the CTE or email Meg Elias at