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Module C ButtonTopic C1.1: Introduction to the Online Workshop

What are the symptoms that reveal a student is not learning the new terms introduced in a college course?

The symptoms of a student not learning the definitions of the new terms introduced in a college course can be found in the following three areas:

A. During the class discussion or lecture the student will:

  • Sleep, talk, read, daydream, etc.
  • Do assignments for another course.
  • Not enter into any discussion.
  • Not answer any discussion question.
  • Keep looking at the clock.
  • Complain that the instructor cannot teach or is boring.


B. When reading the textbook and doing the class assignments, he students will complain:

  • They cannot understand the information in the textbook.
  • The assignments in the textbook are too difficult.
  • The assignments are not fair.
  • The instructor is covering the material too quickly.


C. After taking a test, the students will complain:

  • After spending hours studying for the test, they still fail.
  • The examples given in the test were not the same ones given in the lecture or in the textbook.
  • The definitions questions do not have the same terms used as the textbook's definition.
  • The instructor's tests are very poor and not fair.


What are the effects of students not learning the new terms in their courses?

The result of not learning the new terms when they are introduced in the textbook or course is failure to learn. This has a negative effect on the student, the student's instructor, and the college.

The Student:
Students sometimes blame themselves for not having the ability to learn the information found in their textbooks. What college students must be made aware of is they possess the ability to learn the new terms used in the course if they develop the habit of learning them. What you must do as an instructor is to demonstrate to your students how they can learn the new terms in your course. 

The Instructor:
If students do not blame themselves for not learning the information in a course, they blame their instructor. If a student feels you are at fault for his or her failing the class, this student will tell anyone who will listen how you caused them to fail.

By having vocabulary and example questions on a test, the students who cannot correctly answer these questions are immediately aware of the reason they are having trouble in the course. You can easily make a diagnostic test by having a section of the test that requires knowledge of the definitions of the terms introduced. This section could be graded separately.

The College:
Both your college and your department are interested in students being successful in their classes. Today, there is competition for students. A bad reputation does not help the college in student recruitment. Also, if students fail and drop out, it is a loss of students who would continue to take additional courses. Retention of students is an important goal of all colleges.


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