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By M. Sidury Christiansen, PhD
UTSA 2021-2022 Next-Gen Provost Fellow
Associate Professor, COEHD Bicultural Bilingual STD

This week our Teaching Tip comes from Priya Prasad, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics in the College of Sciences. Priya teaches courses in Geometry and Math Education to undergraduate students and future math teachers.

As part of her commitment to active learning, Priya utilizes different collaboration tools to keep students engaged in the content of her classes from day one. She particularly suggests a three-stage activity that can be carried out in the first week of class. She contends that not only does this activity set the tone for collaboration and engagement for the entire semester, it also lets students know that the first week of class is not dull and unimportant. Priya also suggests using collaborative tools to create discussions and activities that put students at the center of the activity. 

Watch Priya explain these tips.

By color coding editable slides, students can easily document the work they do in breakout rooms whether they are online in zoom or face to face in the classroom, as well as see each other’s work. Color coding also facilitates the instructor’s formative assessment because it helps break down information that may be repeated (depending on the activity). Priya prefers using Google Slides and Zoom, but mentions that this activity can be done using other collaborative and videoconferencing tools. Check out tools licensed by UTSA such as Padlet, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Creative Cloud products, all which are free to use for faculty and students. 

Planning a meaningful activity that is related to the topic of the class will help students understand expectations instead of simply being lectured or having the instructor recite the syllabus (which can be easily put in a video format with a syllabus quiz).