Category: Methods Toolbox

people discussing notes in notebook

Becoming Better Notetakers

I remember early in my Ph.D. program I was frustrated with a dissertation chapter I was writing. I went with my intuition and produced a giant concept map of what I wanted to say. I finished the diagram with a sigh of relief — the chapter made sense now. But I still felt guilty like I was doing something wrong. Real writers didn’t use concept maps, right? I’m not sure anyone ever taught me how to take notes productively, certainly not after elementary/middle school, and I still struggle with notetaking today. I’m a chronic over-highlighter, and I have a hardContinue readingBecoming Better Notetakers

hands stacked in a circle "bringing it in"

Participate, PLEASEEEE

You know that all-too-familiar silence after asking a question in the classroom, where you are just pleading with someone, anyone to respond? Yeah, me too. It especially bugs me when I KNOW students have prepared for class and have things to say. I’ve always aimed to have every student speak in some way in every class, even if it’s just with a partner, and here are a few tricks I use to boost engagement in smaller classes (classes under 30 students) Stand up, sit down: For a question that has speedy answers (think: brainstorming a list), ask the class toContinue readingParticipate, PLEASEEEE

people annotating a document

Annotating Readings with Hypothesis

In my classes, I like employing strategies that promote deep reading. I started using Hypothesis in one of my graduate classes this semester to help students connect with concrete quotes from the text while also analyzing and reflecting on them. This system has the additional benefit of holding students accountable to engaging with the assigned readings. Annotating with hypothesis also offers a social component, one that extends the discussion of course materials outside of the classroom. Mia C. Zamora, an Associate Professor of English and Director of the Kean University Writing Project, explains that tools like Hypothesis “extend the discursiveContinue readingAnnotating Readings with Hypothesis

Person reading visual data on a tablet

Infographics

As we are inundated with data via infographics and other visualizations, it is essential that students learn to read and analyze these types of visual communication. Analyzing sample infographics in your field and introducing students to Randy Olsen’s “Infographics Lie. Here’s How To Spot The B.S” can help students critically engage with these types of visualizations while developing important visual literacy skills. I love using assignments that ask students create real world products, not only because it provides them the opportunity to develop valuable life skills, but also because it allows them to communicate with audiences beyond our classroom. Asking studentsContinue readingInfographics

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