College of LAS « Illinois

LAS Teaching Academy: Aids to Student Success

Home | Programs | Current Workshops | Past Workshops | Teaching Examples | People | Teaching Awards | Giving

It goes without saying that all faculty are not created equal! As you think back to your own studies, you will recall that professors have different styles of teaching and varied learning expectations. Here are a couple of ways for you to help students ‘learn’ how to do well in your class. In addition, when you provide these types of aides, you will find that you cut down on individual students asking the same questions.

First, after you have graded the inaugural assignment for the term, if you have noticed that many students are making similar mistakes, address the class as a whole with your observations. Clearly define the errors or miscommunication and then present ways to remedy the situation.

Second, you can draft Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQ’s, for your particular class/discipline of study. FAQ’s should be customized to your class. These questions and answers will undoubtedly evolve over time, especially when you teach the same course with some frequency. One rule of thumb to help you devise FAQ’s is to utilize questions that many students repeatedly ask and answers that you routinely give.

Third, share the rubric that you have developed for grading. A grading rubric is a set of criteria that is used as a scoring guideline by the instructor to streamline the grading process. In the rubric, you decide the criteria to determine performance standards for grades, such as A, B, C, etc. or for the allocation of points. While you do need to put in time upfront to create your rubric, once you have established the performance criteria, grading individual assignments is much simplified. By sharing the rubric with your students, you help them understand your objective criteria used to grade their work. When they have questions about why points were given or taken off, you can use the rubric to help them understand both your rationale and your expectations. Here is an example of a rubric used to grade college papers.

The University of Texas at Austin provides information about rubrics in general with examples for:

Another wonderful website from the University of Texas at Austin, The UT Learning Center, is overflowing with information on helping students in higher education succeed and thrive. Resource categories include: Study Strategies; Writing; Reading; Math/Science; Graduate Exams and Placement Tests; English as a Foreign Language; Life Management; and Learning Difficulties.