Office of the Provost
Office of the Provost
High-Impact Practices (HIPs) have been demonstrated to improve student learning, increase student involvement in their educational process, and enhance motivation to continue advancing their knowledge and experience.
Students apply what they learn in the classroom to community-based projects and then reflect on their experiences in the classroom, giving them an invaluable opportunity to translate their new knowledge and skills into action and to understand more profoundly the connection between what they're learning in class and they ways they can make a difference in the world. To learn more about service learning at Southern Miss, visit the Center for Community Engagement.
Giving students early assignments with little impact on their grade but generous feedback on their strengths and weaknesses gives them time to adjust to expectations and improve their performance before they receive a final grade.
Encouraging students to examine their own strategies as students and how those strategies will likely affect their class performance and final grade help students—particularly underprepared students—understand your expectations while giving them a roadmap to meet them. View an example (courtesy of Hugh Broome).
Collaborative learning assignments encourage students to work on communication, problem-solving, and successful social interaction within diverse groups, demonstrating leadership and critical thinking skills. Collaboration often provides stronger solutions and more comprehensive learning of material than individual work, and teaches students skills that will benefit them in the workplace as well as the classroom. With collaborative assignments, students share in the design, workload, and execution and are assessed on each component.
Students benefit from feedback much more when they are given a chance to revise and resubmit. As successive drafts improve, faculty can spend more time on the finer points of the assignment, resulting in an improved final product and an increased understanding on the part of the student of how multiple revisions can turn a decent paper into a great one.
Asking students to reflect on the work they've done—what they were great at, what they need to work on, what succeeded, what failed, what lessons they learned that they will be able to apply to future projects—can be immensely helpful in getting students to see themselves as learners who are constantly improving rather than an "A" student or a "C" student.
Brilliant thoughts and well-reasoned arguments become more consequential and meaningful to today’s students when they also learn to communicate them effectively to a public audience. By making the presentation and defense of work and ideas a part of a class, faculty teach their students invaluable skills for the workplace, graduate school, and engaged citizenship.
“Active learning” involves a wide array of teaching methods: basically, any techniques that are not passive information-receiving without interaction on the part of students. Lectures can incorporate active learning through in-class quick writing, student polling, short group interactions, and other methods. Other classes may incorporate debate, flipped classroom models, fishbowl teaching, or other techniques. Active learning methods have been shown to enhance not only student retention of material but also their motivation to learn and the depth of their conceptual understanding.
By deliberately creating a classroom environment where all students feel empowered to share their ideas, you can ensure that students hear a variety of viewpoints. Tips on creating an inclusive classroom can be found here.
On-going assessment is key to helping students learn, and changes feedback from an evaluative process to a teaching one. E-portfolios make it easy for students to submit and for you to provide timely and relevant feedback that will help them improve across multiple drafts.
The Center for Pathway Experiences is a great resource for students looking for internships, externships, fieldwork, and undergraduate research opportunities. By partnering with the Center, you both help prepare students for their eventual careers and encourage them to see the relevance of the material and skills you're teaching them to real world expectations.
Living-learning communities have significant, lasting impact on the way students learn and the way they learn how to learn effectively, and is particularly helpful for first-generation college students who may need more support to navigate the unfamiliar environment of college. If you are interested in participating in a living-learning course linkage, please contact academic.affairsFREEMississippi for more information.
Having faculty mentors who encourage students to pursue their academic passions and interests correlates strongly with students' persistence, academic success, and career success and satisfaction. For more information on the importance of mentoring, see this article from Inside Higher Ed.
Working individually with students on their own research has a significant impact on their learning, self-confidence, and preparation for future endeavors. If you work with undergraduates on research, please connect with the Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research. The Drapeau Center offers advice and funding for students interested in pursuing research or creative activity, and holds a yearly Symposium where undergraduates compete for over $15,000 in prizes. Encouraging your students to submit work and apply for funding as well as mentoring them through the research process has tremendous value to their futures, particularly for first-generation students who may not have the confidence to apply without mentor support.