All posts by ahart

Moving from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset

“Growth vs. Fixed Mindset” by Jessica Ottewell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

We’re a few days into a new term, and I’ve already received several emails from panicked students who are terrified about the upcoming writing assignments. These emails don’t contain questions or requests for assistance. They contain professions of inadequacy:

“I’m a terrible writer.”
“I’m not an English person.”
“I’ve never been good at writing classes.

I get these kinds of emails all the time. Unfortunately, students who email me things like this usually don’t do too well in my course. It’s not that they aren’t capable of putting together a cohesive essay. In fact, many of these naysayers have solid writing skills! They fail because they assume they will; they struggle because they believe they don’t have the ability to succeed.

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How to Make a Grade Appeal

Image of woman and man having a discussion.

“Discussion” by MIT OEIT is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Last term, I had a student send me a very aggressive email. Using some very choice phrases, he demanded I change his final paper grade, and he accused me of not reading his submission. Needless to say, I didn’t honor his requests.

Unlike some my colleagues, I don’t mind grade appeals. I like it when my students care enough to fight for the grade they think they deserve. However, you have to present your case in the right way. So, if you want to get your teacher to rethink your grade, be sure you do the following things:

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How to Get More From Your Online Discussion Posts!

Discussion boards are a prominent feature of most online courses. In fact, I’m teaching a Literature & Composition course now, and it that requires students to post to 11 different discussion forums over an 8-week period! Although most classes don’t demand *such* an extreme level of involvement in discussion forums, the majority of online courses do require weekly or biweekly participation.

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your First College Research Paper

By Transcendentan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout my high school career, I wrote about 4 research papers. After my first month at Wellesley, I had matched that number. I soon realized that high school had not prepared me for the challenges of college-level academic writing. Sadly, my experience is not unique. Too often, students matriculate without knowing how to form a strong thesis, support their ideas with credible research, and cite everything using the proper documentation style. That’s why it’s important you go into the writing process knowing what to do and what not to do.

Here are some common mistakes that you should avoid when writing your first college-level research paper:

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Preparing for the Worst: An Online Student’s Guide for Handling Emergencies


Work created by NY – http://nyphotographic.com/

A few terms ago, I had a brilliant student in my English composition class. She actively participated in all the discussion forums, she gave her classmates insightful and encouraging feedback, and she wrote with a passionate elegance. In short, she was an ideal student. About midway through the term, she disappeared without a trace. After weeks of silence, I finally heard back from her advisor: one of the student’s family members had passed away, and she was so distraught that she was unable to concentrate on her classwork. The student tried to make a comeback, but she didn’t have enough time to make up all the missing work.

Sadly, these stories are all too common. Many online students fall off the radar halfway through the term. It usually has nothing to do with their academic abilities. More often than not, students disappear because they encounter unforeseen challenges. Online courses vary in length, but most courses are around 8 weeks long. Although the accelerated format has its advantages, it can make it more difficult for students to rebound after experiencing a setback.

That’s why it’s important to come up with a game plan so you’re prepared to deal with the curveballs that life may throw at you. Here are some of the most common problems you may encounter during your online class and the best ways to deal with them!

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Want to Succeed in the Online Classroom? Ask Questions!

raised-hands
A few days before the start of every term, I get an e-mail from some eager student wanting to know how to complete the first writing assignment. I’m usually still in my end-of-term grading haze, but I direct that student to the assignment guidelines and the rubric, and I assure her that she’s always welcome to ask questions. Inevitably, the student e-mails me back. She thanks me enthusiastically, and then, she issues a warning: “I’m going be that student who asks you questions about everything. Just want you to know.” It’s that student, the one who asks questions on a weekly, sometimes even daily basis, who usually ends up being the superstar of the class!

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