Faculty Focus Live

Tierney King

We're here to bring instructors and teachers inspiration, energy, and creative strategies that they can utilize in their everyday teaching.

All Episodes

Almost everyone loves a good game. In this episode, we'll go through specific gamification strategies and play-based activities you can implement into your own class. From creating badges and leaderboards to playing word associations or the "sometimes, always, never" game, you'll have a toolbox full of ideas you can bring back to your courses. Additionally, we'll discuss how gamification, when integrated correctly, can increase student persistence and student engagement. Although gamification can be an adventure of fails and successes, it's important to have fun and embrace the power of failure. Recommended resources:What 5 Play-based Activities Can I Use to Create an Active, Learning-centered Class?How Do I Design Effective Combinations of Gamified Elements to Encourage Deeper Learning?How Can I Use Simple Gamification Strategies to Engage My Students?What is Gamification and How Can it Promote a Growth Mindset?

Nov 12

16 min 3 sec

When it comes to public speaking and the constant butterflies your students may get from presenting, "it's all about trying to get the butterflies to fly in formation," David Sandler says. We practice public speaking as a waiter at a restaurant, in a Teams meeting for a job, on a podcast, and yes, in front of a podium, which is what we may associate most with the word "public speaking," but every day we perform different acts of public speaking. Sandler says this is one reason why teaching public speaking skills to students is so vital. “The world loses out on whatever good ideas students may have to share. The ability to articulate what’s going on in your unique mind—it’s a life skill and that’s the paradigm I use to have people think about my course.” From working on eye contact while reciting the ABCs to practicing walking up to the podium to a Q&A session, Sandler offers advice on how you can help students find their voice. Additionally, Sandler talks about how people tend to think they’re either an extrovert or introvert and the impact that may have on their speaking abilities, but there's been research on another category called an ambivert. An ambivert lands in the middle but leans toward a side of being an extrovert or introvert. Sandler reminds us that wherever you are on that "timeline," you can still be a good public speaker.  Recommended resources:NCSL On-Demand: Communication (for students)How Can I Extend My Research to the Public with a PodcastHow Do I Include Introverts in Class Discussions?How Can I Improve My PowerPoint Presentation Skills?How Can I Teach Routine Courses with Energy and Enthusiasm? 

Nov 1

18 min 29 sec

Humor in the classroom, it’s definitely not as easy as we think. For instance, making a joke can fall flat in an online class. You may not see the reactions from your students in their blank, virtual boxes, or your audio might freeze and they miss the joke. But despite these hurdles, it doesn't mean you should give up on fostering humor and positivity into your class—whether you're face-to-face or online. Humor can improve memory, comprehension, and can even improve engagement. In this episode, we'll dive into different tactics you can use to integrate humor into your course, such as memes which can be used as an assessment, as a learning tool, and can provide you with content that you can use later on, and how you can leverage both humor and positivity to achieve this, and finally, how you can be successful at this even in an online environment.Recommended Resources:Using Humor to Engage Students in the ClassroomHow Do Master Teachers Create a Positive Classroom?Using Humor and Levity to Enhance the Online Learning EnvironmentHow Do I Establish an Engaging Atmosphere in My Online Classroom?

Oct 14

15 min 49 sec

Social media polling. Instagram trivia Tuesdays. Virtual study halls. Get ready for a toolbox of new ideas!How can you be strategic about implementing social media into your course? Whether it's just one assignment or the entire course, Debbie Fetter offers insight on how she created a strategic social media plan to implement in her own course. Fetter explains how social media can help teach students how to craft a direct message to a specific audience, and how these tools can be used for future employment. Additionally, she often adds polling and trivia via Instagram for low-stakes grades, extra credit, or small prizes. Last year, she also created what's known as, "Dr. Fetter's Study Hall." By rebranding her office hours into a study hall and creating practice questions specifically for this, Fetter increased the attendance and virtual community these study halls fostered. 

Sep 30

22 min 20 sec

Time. There’s just never enough of it. You’ve got a million and one things to do when it comes to teaching, and your list is always growing. Intermix that with your personal life, and it becomes a matter of how do you balance it all? In today’s episode, we’ll touch on how you can use a teaching calendar, how you can better manage your class time in a flipped learning environment so you’re not only utilizing your own time effectively, but also your class time effectively, and finally, we’ll cover tips for managing your workload in an online environment. Although we can’t cross everything off the list for you, we may be able to offer some helpers that can alleviate some of the stress that comes with an instructor’s workload.  Recommended resources:Magna 20-Minute Mentor: How Can a Teaching Calendar Help Me Be More Effective and Efficient in the Online Classroom?Magna Online Seminar: Time Management for Faculty and Students in Flipped Learning EnvironmentsRobert Talbert's multi-part series: rtalbert.org/gtd Magna 20-Minute Mentor: What Are Practical Solutions for Managing My Online Teaching Workload?Magna 20-Minute Mentor: How Can I Be a More Productive and Effective Teaching?

Sep 17

14 min 45 sec

As an instructor, giving feedback might come easily. You do it day in and day out when grading papers, offering insight to student responses or peers, and proofing assignments. But what about receiving feedback? Receiving feedback as an instructor can be nerve-wracking and stressful. It can undoubtedly impact your confidence as a teacher. But what if there were ways that no matter the feedback, good or bad, you could learn to use student feedback constructively, and also better prepare your students to provide feedback that could help make you a more effective teacher. This episode dives into how you can foster a classroom culture that encourages student feedback, whether online or in-person. Recommended Resources:20-Minute Mentor: How Can Improving Student Feedback Improve the Quality of Each Educational Encounter?20-Minute Mentor: How Can I Get Useful Feedback to Improve My Online Teaching?Magna Online Seminar: Using Student Feedback to Immediately Improve Teaching20-Minute Mentor: How Can I Gain Valuable Insight from Course Evaluations? 20-Minute Mentor: How Can Talking through Course Evaluations Improve My Teaching?

Sep 3

15 min 36 sec

In this episode, we dive into how Judy Klimek uses a group exam review to go over answers from the final, individual exam. From fostering engaging conversations to pinpointing challenging questions, each small group reviews the results from their individual exams and comes to a consensus as to why answers were right or wrong. As an instructor, Klimek also explains how the group exam review allows her to reassess exam questions in the future and engage one-on-one with students who might need extra assistance. Recommended Resources:How Can Post-Exam Reviews Become a Powerful Teaching Strategy?How Can Understanding Group Dynamics Lead to Better Group Work?Are Group Exams a Viable Testing Option?How Can I Write Better Exam Questions to Measure Student Performance and Learning?

Aug 23

19 min 19 sec

Diversity and inclusion in higher education...It’s important. It’s imperative. And it’s an essential part of teaching. In this episode, we talk about how you can infuse inclusive teaching strategies into your online classes and your in-person classes. From small scale to large scale incorporations, each inclusive strategy and diversity-related topic matters. Whether you incorporate these strategies into your syllabus, curriculum, or project-based learning activities, you can start to think about how this will improve how your students engage with your course and how you can better establish a classroom culture.Recommended Resources:Magna Online Seminar: Effective Diversity and Inclusion Strategies20-Minute Mentor: How Do I Infuse Equity into Any Online Class?Magna Online Seminar: Bringing Diversity and Inclusion into Your Quantitative CourseMagna Course: Practical Solutions for Faculty: Creating an Inclusive Classroom Climate and CultureMagna Online Seminar: Beyond Pedagogy: Infusing Equity into Your Syllabus, Assignments, and Course ContentMagna Online Seminar: Online Engagement and Assimilation Strategies for Nontraditional and Marginalized Students

Aug 9

15 min 7 sec

In this episode, we talk with Melissa Schettler who presented at our Teaching Professor Conference. Here, she discusses how you can increase student engagement through the use of an engagement rubric. You'll identify desired behaviors, undesired behaviors, challenging behaviors, and then finally, define what you think "perfect participation" looks like with engaged students.Schettler explains how you can develop and implement your own student engagement rubric to help communicate expected behaviors to your students. What will make your heart sing when you visualize perfect participation and how do you accomplish that? Find out in this episode! Also, feel free to download the engagement rubric Schettler uses in her own classes to inspire your own engagement rubric.Recommended resources: Melissa Schettler's Engagement Rubric ResourceTeaching Professor Virtual Conference available through Sept. 30, 2021Practical Solutions for Faculty: Engaging StudentsHow Do Mini-lectures Improve Student Engagement?Maximizing Student Engagement with Course ReadingsUsing Active Listening to Deepen Student Engagement in Live Remote Classes

Jul 27

23 min 38 sec

Creating exams…it’s not an easy task. From crafting exam questions to trying to make your exams more accessible while also trying to promote academic integrity – there are numerous elements to consider. In this episode we talk about exam accessibility including time restraints, how you can write better exam questions, and what you can do about online exam security.  Although there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to designing online exams or in-person exams, there are numerous factors you can take into consideration to more effectively asses your students and to be more conscious when creating your exams. Recommended Resources: 20-Minute Mentor: How Can I Make My Exams More Accessible? 20-Minute Mentor: How Can I Write Better Exam Questions to Measure Student Performance and Learning? 20-Minute Mentor: How Can I Increase Exam Security with Custom Question Banks Magna Online Seminar: Writing Better Multiple-Choice Questions20-Minute Mentor: How Can Students Use Self-Compassion to Reduce Test Anxiety?Faculty Focus article: Fourteen Simple Strategies to Reduce Cheating on Online Examinations

Jul 12

16 min 24 sec

College is hard. That's why Ben Blood dedicates so much time to student success; it's also why he spends time teaching students about metacognition, time management, self-discipline, help-seeking, and resilience/perseverance. Here, you'll take away specific strategies you can implement into your class to help students succeed and also help students "find their why:" The reason they're in college; the reason this is important to them; and their reason why.“If you fail it’s not a signal, it’s not a sign that you should quit. It’s not a flare being shot up to tell you you’re not worthy of college. Instead, we need to use our failures as opportunities for growth.” -Ben Blood Recommended Resources:Ben Blood's blog with resources, access to his OER, and more: https://accountabiltycoachingforcollegesuccess.com/ Magna Online Seminar: Harnessing the Power of Open Pedagogy and Open Syllabi to Promote Student SuccessMagna Online Seminar: Applying Andragogy to Online Course Design to Increase Student Engagement and SuccessMagna Online Seminar: Teaching Underprepared Students to Take Control of Their Learning by Developing Metacognitive SkillsMagna Online Seminar: Teaching Underprepared Students: Strategies that Work

Jun 25

19 min 25 sec

In episode 12, we chat with Stephanie Dunson, PhD, who recently started her own podcast: 100 Mistakes Academic Writers Make...and How to Fix Them. In this interview, we talk about embracing the messy parts of writing and acknowledge that those messy parts are most often necessary to create a piece of published work. Additionally, Dunson explains how we can be so focused on the end result, that sometimes we forget to step back and acknowledge the gaps that we're missing in our own writing. She offers questions to think about when writing and how this can foster a more intentional writing process. Also, stay tuned for a sneak peek into the upcoming podcast episodes she's most excited for. Resources:Stephanie Dunson's podcast: 100 Mistakes Academic Writers Make...and How to Fix ThemTaking My Career to the Next Level: Grant Writing Tips and ResourcesHow Can I Write Better Letters of Recommendation?How Can I Extend My Research to the Public with a Podcast?

Jun 11

20 min 38 sec

In the past year, many instructors worried that their online teaching presence might miss the in-person cues they picked up on with students in the classroom. In turn questions arose: How do you assess your students online? How do you make sure they’re learning the content? How do you gauge student learning through online activities? In this episode, we'll provide ideas on how you can implement check points into your online teaching, and how you can use student-created videos to assess students in your online class. Additionally, we'll touch on how you can create writing assignments that can be used as an effective means of assessment, and how focusing on the process of writing can help foster student learning.Resources mentioned:How Can I Gauge Online Learning Through Engaging Activities and Assessments?How Can I Assess Students in My Online Classes Through Student-created Videos?Effective Writing Assessment in the Online ClassroomThis week's episode is sponsored by the Teaching Professor Virtual Conference. Join the conference anytime and anywhere from June 7 through September 30, where you'll have on-demand access to plenaries, sessions, downloadable handouts, and networking opportunities. 

May 28

14 min 8 sec

If you've been considering attending our Teaching Professor Conference (virtually or in person), look no further! Here, we chat with a few of our presenters about why their topic session is so important to them.Liz Norell talks about how rewarding it is to witness those "aha moments" and how you can use different tools to cultivate your presence in the classroom. Next, Ashley Harvey explores invisible emotional labors associated with teaching and how to keep your positive emotion and energy at bay. Then, Dr. Tarsha Reid dives into how to incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy for African American students, and lastly, Jane Sutterlin explains how learning science and emotion science have helped guide her online teaching.  Register here for the Teaching Professor Conference

May 18

23 min 49 sec

How can you help students overcome their distaste for collaborative group work online (and also thereby change your view of such work)? Wendy Trevor discusses how the timing of the assignment, the structure, instructor presence, feedback, and a grading rubric which privileges individual contributions, and signals the importance of engaging with others' views, can help students approach group work more positively. Additionally, she touches on how group projects can foster the kind of communication skills and cooperative work employers today value.Resources related to online group work:How Can Understanding Group Dynamics Lead to Better Group Work?Online Group Work: Making it Meaningful and ManageableHow Can I Make Online Group Projects More Effective?How Do I Assign Students to Groups?This week's episode is sponsored by The Teaching Professor Conference. Join us in-person at New Orleans from June 4 - 6, or join us virtually with on-demand sessions from June 7 - September 30. 

Apr 29

18 min 43 sec

Your teaching philosophy helps examine who are you as a teacher and examines what beliefs and values are at the heart of what you do. In this episode, Maryellen Weimer reflects with other instructors on stories and vulnerabilities that helped shape their personas and philosophies in the classroom. Resources Mentioned:Who Am I When I Teach? Understanding Teaching PersonaConsidering the Courage and Practice of TeachingTeaching Philosophies: Time for a RevisitFree report: Examples and Tips on How to Write a Teaching Philosophy StatementThis week's episode is sponsored by The Teaching Professor Conference. Join us in-person at New Orleans from June 4 - 6, or join us virtually with on-demand sessions from June 7 - September 30. 

Apr 20

16 min 9 sec

Are some of your students struggling with online learning? Have you seen a decrease in motivation or engagement? If the answer is yes, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad teacher or instructor. It might just mean there’s a missing piece, and today, we’re here to find that missing piece. The piece that recognizes that maybe one, two, a handful, or all of your students are struggling with online learning. We’re here to find the piece that helps incentivize, helps empathize, and helps motivate those students both in the online realm and in-person classroom. Resources Mentioned:How Can I Help Students Who Are Struggling with Online Learning?How Can I Adapt My Teaching so Students Thrive in a Polysynchronous Classroom?Increasing Student Engagement, Persistence, and Success Online Using Emotion ScienceThis week's episode is sponsored by The Teaching Professor Conference. Join us in-person at New Orleans from June 4 - 6, or join us virtually with on-demand sessions from June 7 - September 30. 

Apr 5

16 min 19 sec

Glenn Walton gives us 9 ½ ways to humanize your teaching in an online environment. From rubber chickens to sound boxes and a screaming monkey, it’s never a dull moment in his classes.1. Use poll questions and chat box questions2. Be predictably unpredictable3. Be visually appealing4. Be trendy5. Explain your expectations6. Be everywhere7. Design your class to be more inviting and pleasant8. Course materials9. Human factors½. Half way and another half: Ours and yoursThis week's episode is sponsored by The Teaching Professor Conference. Join us in-person or virtually and pursue your passion to teach.Recommended resources:How Can I Maximize the First 10 Minutes of Remote Teaching to Spark Student EngagementHow Can I Incorporate Best Practices into My Online Teaching?Using Microlearning to Improve Student Understanding of Course Content

Mar 24

20 min 29 sec

Online discussion boards. It’s something that’s come up a lot this past year as we’ve migrated to the online platform. One of the main questions is how do you get your online discussions to be more than just, “Hey Theresa! I agree with your statement, that’s a great point.” In this episode,  we’ll go over a few things you can do with your online discussion board, from using responses to give narrative shape to creating questions, and specific activities you can use in your discussion board to spark responses that aren’t so mundane. Mentioned resources:How Do I Create Questions that Stimulate Engaging Conversations in Online Discussion Boards? What Are Three Proven Ways to Manage My Online Discussion Board and Actively Engage Students?How to Design and Facilitate Online Discussions that Improve Student Learning and EngagementOther resources:Free article: How Superheroes Can Bring Your Online Discussion Board to LifeFree article: Leveraging Bloom's Taxonomy to Elevate Discussion Boards in Online CoursesFree report: Tools and Strategies for Engaging Online Students20-Minute Mentor: How Can Discussion Responses Give Narrative Shape to an Online Class?

Mar 10

14 min 31 sec

In this episode, we sit down with Ken Alford to discuss how he's kept the storytelling element within his online classes and what you can do to help students see you as a person."Share your story, and let them know that you know life happens to everybody. We’re all in this human drama together, and I think the more we can connect with each other, the better it is. I think anything we can do to keep each other as people and not just textbook reciters and question writers, is helpful."Featured products with Ken Alford:What is the Best Teaching Advice I Ever Received?Creative Course Design: Yes You Can!Energize Your Lectures to Help Students Meaningfully Engage with Your SubjectHow Can I Be an Effective Mentor?How Can I Effectively Supervise Teaching and Research Assistants?How Can I Effectively Mentor Students?What are 10 Tips to Collaborate with Colleagues?Teaching Underprepared Students 

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Feb 24

20 min 41 sec

You became a beacon of light for your students and offered their lives some peace, stability, and encouragement. As we move forward, what techniques can you use to deal with stressors (small or big), and how can you implement trauma-informed pedagogy into your classes to help support students during a pandemic?Resources: Cultivate Resilience: Six Steps for Stress InoculationTrauma-Informed Pedagogy: Teaching in Uncertain TimesOther resources:10 Tips for Designing an Online Learning Environment that Supports Your StudentsA Memo to Students on Punching through the Pandemic, Regan A.R. GurungHelping Students Create a Daily Practice of Self-ConnectionOur Online Learners Need More Empathy and Less Criticism

Feb 10

16 min 5 sec

Many have done quite remarkable things with both asynchronous and synchronous activities, and numerous instructors use a mix of both. In this episode, we’ll dive into specific techniques instructors are using that have the potential to build community, convey information, assess learning, and inject your personality. Resources mentioned in this episode:20-Minute Mentor: How Do I Choose Between Synchronous and Asynchronous Activities?Faculty Focus article: A Reflection on the Sudden Transition: Ideas to Make Your Synchronous Online Classes More FunFaculty Focus article: A Game a Day: Fun and Dynamic Synchronous Online Learning20-Minute Mentor: How Can I Maximize the First 10 Minutes of Remote Teaching to Spark Student Engagement?These episodes are sponsored by The Teaching Professor, a newsletter that helps faculty improve their teaching, share best practices, and stay current on the latest pedagogical research.

Jan 28

11 min 4 sec

In episode one, we'll be taking a dive into different classroom assessment techniques that you can begin using in your own courses, both online and face-to-face. From application cards to a pros and cons list and even a polling system, there are numerous techniques you can use to make sure your students are following along, engaged, and learning.Resources mentioned in this episode:"Everybody with Me?" and Other Not-so-useful QuestionsHow Can I Use Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) Online?Getting Started with Classroom Assessment TechniquesThese episodes are sponsored by The Teaching Professor, a newsletter that helps faculty improve their teaching, share best practices, and stay current on the latest pedagogical research.

Jan 4

10 min 50 sec