Midterm Motivation – Fall 2021 Newsletter 3

By October 8, 2021April 7th, 2022Smeal Academy Newsletter

Fall 2021 Resilience – Newsletter 3

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges of teaching and learning during the Fall 2021 semester. Between now and the end of the Fall 2021 semester, we will be sending weekly emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

This week, we share resources that can help you with student motivation.

During COVID we used more video than ever before. Students can find the use of video helpful, especially for second language students and students with disabilities.  This week, we will be talking a bit about the use of video in the Smeal Academy Sessions. Check out the list below for more information.

We all know it is important to motivate our learners and ensure the continuity of the motivation during the semester’s instruction. ARCS is an instructional model developed by John Keller and focuses on motivation.

There are four components of the ARCS model and stands for Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction.

  1. Attention: This refers to the learners’ interests. It is critical to get and hold the learners’ interests and attention. Some ideas for capturing student attention include:
    • Using video to allow for hearing the content again.
    • Providing real-world, related, and specific examples about content.
    • Using humor.
    • Going against learners’ past experience or providing an opposite point of view.
    • Using hands-on and role-playing activities.
    • Including brainstorming and critical thinking activities.
  2. Relevance: The learning process should show the usefulness of the content so that learners can bridge the gap between content and the real world. Some ideas for making content relevant to students include:
    • Explaining why and how this content helps the learners today or in the future.
    • Allow learners to choose their own paper topics or other ways to personalize their assignments.
    • Give learners continuity by establishing connections between new information and prior learning.
  3. Confidence: This component focuses on developing success expectations that allow learners to be in control of their learning processes. Some ideas for helping to build confidence in students include:
    • Use rubrics and checklists so that they can establish positive expectations and achieve success on your assignments.
    • Give learners’ early, and frequent feedback about their improvements/deficiencies during the course so that they can adjust their performance.
    • Allow learners the opportunity to be successful by providing multiple and varied assessment experiences. Avoid having only a few exams to measure understanding, instead include other assessments to vary the ways students can earn points.
  4. Satisfaction: There is a direct relationship between motivation and satisfaction. Learners should be satisfied with what they achieved during the learning process. Some ideas for making the content satisfying to students include:
    • Encourage intrinsic enjoyment of the learning experience so that learners have fun, continue the learning process without expecting reward or another kind of external motivational elements.
    • Extrinsic Rewards: Provide learners with positive feedback, rewards, and reinforcements. Be careful about scheduling reinforcement. It is more effective when you provide reinforcement at non-predictable intervals.
    • Maintain consistent standards and consequences for success. Check that there is consistency between yourself and your TA when sharing grading responsibilities.


Current News

  • Reminder: How to get your Zoom Recordings into Canvas
    If you missed last month’s session on getting your Zoom recordings into your Canvas Course using Kaltura. Be sure to look back at the sessions and watch these helpful videos.

  • Canvas Course Archiving took place  September 28
    Penn State IT will perform its regular archiving of older Canvas courses. You may choose to delay particular courses from being archived by using the in-Canvas Course Archive Manager tool. This can be found in the right navigation on your Canvas. Dashboard. Archiving includes: All LionPATH courses taught prior to and including Summer 2020 (LionPATH term 2205). All LionPATH courses that you may have previously opted out of archiving. Non-LionPATH courses, including Master, Manually Created, and Sandbox courses will not be archived. Full details, including instructions on how to opt a course out of archiving, are available on the Penn State Canvas website. This is a regular occurrence, please keep an eye on the notifications at the top of your Dashboard for future notices.
  • Spring Student Registration Has Begun
    Penn State undergraduates can view the full schedule of courses for Spring 2022. The LionPATH enrollment shopping carts opened Sept. 22. The first day of registration for graduate students is October 12, and undergraduate students is October 13. Encourage your students to talk to their advisors about what to take next.
  • Canvas Training Available
    As we begin to return to campus for the Fall semester, Penn State IT Learning and Development (ITLD) is offering Canvas training sessions via Zoom on a variety of topics, from designing effective content to empowering students to collaborate using Canvas groups. Register and check out the complete schedule of training sessions for Fall 2021.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • How to enhance pedagogy through video and integrate video into Penn State’s learning systems.This session will discuss numerous ways to enhance pedagogy through video and best practices to manage your video library and Canvas integration.Join us October 15, from 9 to 10 a.m. via Zoom:  https://psu.zoom.us/j/710269538?pwd=THlOeHlobTRFbmtTL2RoZG1VbjNGZz09
  • Smeal Academy Session: Learning Analytics Tricks and TreatsCome trick or treating with the eLDIG team and collect some creative basic learning analytics treats to inform and guide our teaching and learning efforts. We will have several doors to knock on from the Canvas house to the Zoom family…. and we may even check out what the Top Hat home is giving out this year. You never know what tricks might be up our costume sleeves or what haunted houses we’ll need to avoid as we wander through the analytics neighborhood. Come and join the fun as we collect some trick or treat loot (hopefully, there’ll be at least one or two full-sized candy bars)! Costumes are optional!Join us Tuesday, October 26 from 12 to 1 p.m. via Zoom: https://psu.zoom.us/j/710269538?pwd=THlOeHlobTRFbmtTL2RoZG1VbjNGZz09

NOTE:  Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our SmealTLT Website.

Tips of the Week

Motivating Yourself: Did you know that a faculty’s intrinsic or “autonomous” motivations predict greater use of proven, effective teaching methods — namely instructional clarity and higher-order, reflective and integrative, and collaborative learning? Faculty who teach because they enjoy and value it tends to teach in the most effective ways.

Stupnisky, R. H., BrckaLorenz, A., Yuhas, B., & Guay, F. (2018). Faculty members’ motivation for teaching and best practices: Testing a model based on self-determination theory across institution types. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 53, 15-26.

  • Tip #1:  Attend professional development workshops about teaching
    Smeal faculty cherish the idea of continuous quality improvement in business. The same applies to the business of teaching. Collect the data you need to ensure you are making improvements. Then attend professional development workshops with teaching experts to improve your teaching methods.
  • Tip #2:   Allow yourself adequate teaching preparation time
    Preparation and planning are critical components of effective teaching. A common misnomer is that faculty only work a limited workday, but when the time for preparing and planning is accounted for, the time increases significantly. Teaching is not something you can do effectively on the fly. It requires a healthy blend of content knowledge, instructional strategies, and classroom management tactics. Plan days to weeks in advance if possible. Do not wait until the last minute to try to put content together. Doing so limits your effectiveness. Staying organized and budgeting your time can ease your stress.
  • Tip #3:  Connect with other teaching faculty
    Connecting with other educators is probably the best way to grow yourself as an educator. You can connect with other faculty through social media, in person, and in professional development sessions. Find a like-minded faculty member and truly connect to exchange ideas and make changes to your processes.

Meirovich, G., & Romar, E. J. (2006). The difficulty in implementing TQM in higher education instruction: The duality of instructor/student roles. Quality Assurance in Education.
Meador, D. (May 04, 2019). Strategies for Teachers: The Power of Preparation and Planning.
Heick, T. (nd.d). What Happens When Teachers Connect.


Helpful Websites


Check out the eLDIG website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: course-support@smeal.psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.