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Teaching Tip: How to Get Your OM Students to Participate More

July 8, 2016

teacherWhat can we as teachers do to better promote student engagement? Here are a few ideas I extracted from Faculty Focus (June 29, 2016):

Redefine participation. Invite students to contribute electronically—with an email or post on the course website—with a question they didn’t ask in class, a comment they didn’t get to make, or a thought that came to them after class.

Cultivate a presence that invites engagement. An engaging teaching presence is communicated by behaviors that convey confidence, comfort, anticipation, and great expectations. The classroom space, whether it’s physical or virtual, is one you share. Move about in it. See who’s in class. Smile, extend a greeting, or comment on one of our recent OM in the News  blogs.

Talk about why learning is important. This is not the same old lecture about how OM is such a hard course. Most students haven’t yet fallen in love with learning. They think they like easy learning, memorizing bits of information, or getting by doing the bare minimum. Let yours be the class that introduces students to learning that captivates their attention, arouses their curiosity, stretches their minds, and makes them feel accomplished.

Give students a stake in the process. We make all the decisions about learning for students. We decide what students will learn, the pace, the conditions, and whether students have learned it. You can give students some control. Let them start making small decisions—what topics they want discussed in the exam review session, whether quizzes will count 10% or 20% of their grade, whether their final project is a paper or a presentation—and watch what happens to their engagement.

Use cumulative quizzes and exams. For long-term retention of course content, student exposure to the material needs to be ongoing. Every time they retrieve what they’ve learned, that material becomes easier to remember. Students would, of course, rather have unit exams. We can help students prepare for cumulative exams by scheduling regular quizzes (and MyOMLab is perfect for this).

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