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Commentary Category

Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: Heather Fedesco and Consulting Groups

Jan. 27, 2020—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern During Spring 2020, the Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt blog series will highlight teaching innovations that CFT staff have implemented and evaluated in their own courses. Most students can give an example from their own life from a group project gone wrong, but working in groups is often integral to...

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Junior Faculty Spotlight: Allison Leich Hilbun

Jan. 14, 2020—Each year, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Allison Leich Hilbun, Biological Sciences, talks about some of the most useful lessons she has gotten from the Fellowship. Participation in the JFTF program has been exceedingly enlightening. I am excited about what I have learned regarding prior knowledge; although coming into...

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Grades as a necessary evil? How they affect student motivation and what we can do about it.

Dec. 19, 2019—By Heather Fedesco, CFT Assistant Director   During the December meeting of the CFT’s student motivation journal club, we tackled the perplexing question of whether grades help or hinder student motivation. Chamberlin and colleagues’ paper titled, “The impact of grades on student motivation” gave us a great launching point to embark on this discussion. The authors...

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Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: McKanders and Refugee Policy Podcasts

Dec. 2, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern In the spring of last year, three students from Professor Karla McKanders’s LAW 7620: Refugee Law and Policy course contributed podcasts to the Life of the Law Blog New Voices series. This amazing opportunity for students came about from a final project for the course. The course focuses on the...

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Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: Christin Essin and Learning through Theatre

Nov. 11, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern I’ve never been quite so disappointed to have missed a play as when I learned about the process behind the making of Bowling for Beginners from Dr. Christin Essin. The play kicked off the fall season of Vanderbilt University Theatre in early October and I unfortunately never got around...

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Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: Anna Guengerich and Multi-group roleplay

Oct. 29, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern Certain classes stay with you, and HART-1330W Sacred Sites in World History is one of the classes for me. I still love to talk about the Stave Churches of Norway, which were the topic of my final paper and project. Another part of the class that I found very...

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Student motivation journal club: If it’s bigger than you, the boring is worth it: the power of self-transcending motivation on menial tasks

Oct. 28, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern, and Heather Fedesco, CFT Assistant Director Unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid the boring in learning. Inevitably, even in the most exciting fields, students need to learn and do a boring, menial, or repetitive task. In STEM, this is especially true. You can’t learn to plot the path of a...

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Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: John Bradley and Teaching Writing

Oct. 14, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern Talking with Dr. John Bradley, director of the Writing Studio, helped me name critical lessons about writing that that I’ve realized firsthand as a Vanderbilt student here. I think teachers and students like me can benefit from both the abstract approaches and the concrete tools Bradley uses to foster...

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Crowdsourcing ideas for student engagement and for dealing with student challenges

Oct. 1, 2019—by Cynthia J. Brame, CFT Associate Director One of the most persistent questions that faculty face is how to engage our students productively, both in and out of the classroom. In some settings this is easier than others: when students are taking elective courses in their area of interest, the road is often smoother than...

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Teaching Innovations at Vanderbilt: Garrett Tate, Lily Claiborne, and student analysis of real-world data

Sep. 30, 2019—By Faith Rovenolt, CFT undergraduate intern It’s pretty hard to not find volcanoes exciting. That’s part of the reason why I think a new active learning activity in EES-1510: The Dynamic Earth: Introduction to Geological Sciences, is so cool. The other reason I think it’s amazing is that it represents a great example of an...

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