Let Publishers Do the Work!
Publishers offer instructors a multitude of teaching resources; it is easy to be overwhelmed by the extent of these resources. Listed below are several common resources, along with a number of ways to utilize them for your course.
The instructor manual is a staple resource that can be used not only to organize a lecture but to provide various activities to use in class or online. Often one of the first things recommended for instructors to review in preparing for a course. Several practices used are: enhancing PowerPoints, creating/finding classroom activities, and providing instructor-led discussions. No need to spend time creating your own.
PowerPoints are frequently provided as supplements, typically based on specific programs or authors, and can be utilized as-is, or enhanced to meet a particular teaching style or course preference. For example:
- Supplement your PowerPoint slides by inserting various resources from the textbook or instructor manual. Having all of your resources embedded in the PowerPoint is an excellent strategy for organizing class time.
- Discussion/text bank questions (quickly create your own Socratic slides)
- Video links (no need to remember where that video is)
- In-class Activities (keeping students engaged in the application of concepts)
- Examples from the chapter (reinforcing concepts to actual situations)
- Utilize the Learning Objectives slide (normally provided in the beginning of the slide deck) by inserting hyperlinks to particular slides further down in the deck. Slides that you prefer to use to highlight the concept; (use the “previously viewed” selection to return to your LO listing slide.) This is a relatively quick approach for insuring that you cover the material without using all of the slides provided.
- Utilize the reporting function in McGraw-Hill’s Connect by inserting a “concept check” slide before each learning objective that shows how the class progressed in each area (when Learnsmart is required before class.) This can help organize class time by focusing on the Learning objective(s) needing the most attention; it can also encourage students to utilize their own reports, improving their own learning.
- Prezi: Use this free cloud-based presentation software to make your presentations pop! The free version has several designs to choose from. You can upload your PowerPoint into a Prezi then adjust it as needed or create one from scratch.
Video resources can enhance concept comprehension in a significant way. The problem is they take a ton of time to create. All of the main publishers, like McGraw-Hill, offer video resources for instructors and students, and typically they’re tied to specific chapters or learning objectives in the text you’re using. You can also use the discussion questions from the end of most chapters (or create your own) to accompany some of the videos. No time for that? Have students create a list of discussion points during the video, then have them connect their points to the chapter material when the video is over. A favorite activity in class or for an online discussion forum.
Online Learning Management Resources
Digital programs and learning management resources from publishers can go a long way in helping students practice the class material. On example is McGraw-Hill’s Connect program, which can be utilized in various ways.
- Auto-grade homework is available and matches the textbook chapters, making it easy to assign practice or low-stakes quiz material to students.
- Simulations/Application Based Activities are often provided in Connect and are a fun group activity in the classroom. I have used this as a group activity whereby I use part of the simulation each week throughout the semester; students look forward to it!
- Connect’s adaptive Learnsmart tool as a contest in class. We often use Learnsmart in class by setting up teams; the team with the most correct answers wins the day!
- Self-Assessments are a fantastic way for students to connect personally to the material. These activities are also good for in-class activities, students can discuss in groups. Self-Assessments help to enhance student engagement and connection to the material.
- File Attachment Activities are a great way to organize all students work in one place. For homework assignments that reside outside of Connect, I utilize this Connect resource so students are completing all of their work in one place. No confusion as to what goes where usually equals more student participation.
Regardless of what your particular title provides, get to know all of the amazing publisher resources that are offered so that you can develop your course more efficiently, engage your students, and save yourself time and energy.