Spring in the Fall: New things I am trying this school year (Part 1)

As an educator, fall always feels like spring to me. It is a time of new beginnings, renewal, optimism and endless possibilities.  Every new semester is a clean slate with new students and new challenges – even if it is a course I have taught dozens of times before.  This fall and winter semesters, I am going to try a few new things to engage my students.  Here are a couple of them:

1.  Use Twitter in the classroom – It is always a challenge to stimulate discussion in class that involves as many students as possible. Speaking in a classroom in front of others does not come naturally or is downright scary for many people – especially introverts (like me).  Why not have students communicate using a medium that they are comfortable with? I am inspired by this video of a history professor at the University of Texas using Twitter to engage more of her students in classroom discussion.  

An extra benefit – students will be using their smartphones for tweeting instead of texting in class. 🙂

2.  Create crossword puzzles – Giving review questions to students is a tool to help them learn material before or after a lecture.  How about getting students to do these questions during class to create more active learning? I will be giving my students a crossword puzzle at the beginning of some classes.  I am creating the puzzles by converting review questions into crossword clues.  There are many online crossword puzzle generators.  A good free one that I found is at The Teacher’s Corner.  It took me all of half an hour to reword the questions into clues, input the clues and answers, and – presto – a crossword puzzle was generated.  Here’s what my first puzzle looks like:

My next blog will be Part 2 – a few more new things I will be trying.



About Wayland Chau

Post-secondary educator involved in teaching and course design for face-to-face and online learning.
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