Course Management

Issues and ideas about topics related to successful course management such as syllabus language, course rules, office hours, etc.
John  Martin's picture

Grading stress? Lose the percentages!

Fewer students will argue for an A vs B than argue for an 86 vs 85 — and it's easier for you to defend your decision. One instructor shares his experience using straight letter grades.

I forgot who, at the Teaching Academy Fall kickoff on Grading, talked about using letter grades instead of percentages to make his grading easier and less stressful, but it struck me as a great idea. And I started using it immediately. It's amazing to me how it lowered the stress of the whole class, and changed both my focus, and that of the students, from "grades" to "learning."

I was not the only one. Brian Coxwell relates his experience in this week's ProfHacker:

an excerpt:
Report on Grading Differently

Cheryl Diermyer's picture

2011 ECAR National Study on Undergraduate Students and Information Technology

Educause has completed the 2011 ECAR National Study on Undergraduate Students and Information Technology. They also have a nice visualization to illustrate their key findings.

Jeffrey Henriques's picture

(Cheating) Prevention Techniques for Tests

This posting from the Tomorrow's Professor listerve gives three good ideas on how to reduce cheating during tests. I is from Chapter 8, Techniques for Promoting Academic Integrity and Discourage Cheating, in the book, Teaching Unprepared Students: Strategies for Promoting Success and Retention in Higher Education, by Kathleen F. Gabriel, California State University, Chico, Chico, California. Stylus Publishing, LLC., 22883 Quicksilver Drive, Sterling,, Virginia 20166-2102.

When administering tests, there are several steps that we must take to reduce the chances of academic dishonesty and to create an atmosphere of fairness to all. When students think that other students are getting away with cheating or that a teacher will not take measures to make sure that students do not cheat, many will feel that they have to cheat to level the playing field (McCabe & Trevino, 1996).

ta's picture

Academic Misconduct - from the Assistant Dean for Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity is critical to the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a research one institution with high academic standards and rigor. As a UW-Madison faculty/staff, it is our job to remind students of their responsibility to be informed about what constitutes academic misconduct, how to avoid it and what happens if they decide to engage in it.


Dear Colleagues,

I'm writing to introduce myself as the new Assistant Dean for Academic Integrity. In addition to my duties in the Dean of Student's Office, I will be focusing on the issues around Academic Integrity.

Examples of academic misconduct include (but are not limited to):

Vanessa Eisch's picture

A Focus on Literacy: Teaching Academy Summer Institute helps UW faculty and staff incorporate new literacies into teaching

It’s difficult to find the time to think about teaching during the academic year.  Doing research and service, applying for grants and classroom instruction often take precedence over contemplating pedagogy.

“We are very good at shuffling priorities and teaching tends to come to the surface when the course syllabus is due.  That’s when you say you have to get focused on the class,” Teaching Academy Co-Chair and Executive Committee member Beth Martin (School of Pharmacy) explained.

That’s what makes the Teaching Academy’s Summer Institute (TASI) such a unique and invaluable opportunity for UW faculty, instructional staff, graduate students and post-docs.

TASI is an annual event held every June at the UW Arboretum that gives a small group of participants the rare opportunity to focus on professional reflection and renewal.

“If you really want to focus on your teaching and make meaningful change in your teaching – you have to set aside the time.  TASI provides the time,” Martin said. 

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