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A group of EMS TEEMS students at Lake Raystown

Credit: TEEMS Image © Penn State

Dutton Digest, April 2022

April 4th, 2022

Increase Student Engagement Through Reflective Writing

We know that students are more likely to remember and understand new material when they're able to connect it to their life experiences. In the article Using Reflective Writing to Get Students Connected with the Material, Nikole Patson describes how she helps her students do just that with various reflective writing assignments. Her practices include:

  • Writing about a memory. Early in the semester, ask your students to write about an experience in their life that relates to the course content.
  • Reflecting and connecting to a reading. When reading primary source material, ask your students to write about how the reading relates to their life or something they have learned elsewhere.
  • Writing to a future student. At the end of the semester, ask your students to write about an experience in your course that would entice another student to enroll.

Build Student Relationships with a "Relentless Welcome"

Welcoming students into our college during the TEEMS (Total Engagement with EMS) orientation program is an excellent way to make a difference in our young students' college experience. Likewise, building strong relationships with your students by partnering in their learning and being available for them can help them stay motivated and be more successful. The article Activate a Relationship-rich Culture with Three Simple Practices by Maria Scalzi Wherley and Jane Sutterlin presents three strategies for building relationships with your students. Here are a few quick ideas:

  • Learn student names. On the first day of class, have students write down their names and pronunciations. Keep the names with you during class and office hours.
  • Value persistence. Show students that you are a partner in their learning. Offer flexible office hours, help students practice, and help students help each other.
  • Mentor. Say hello to your students outside of class, introduce them to other faculty members, talk to them as co-humans, and listen to them.

EMS Faculty Studio Video Production

The EMS Faculty Studio can help you record and produce high-quality videos for your online and residential courses. View the Record in the Studio or on Location video to see a variety of clips that introduce people and places, explain difficult concepts, demonstrate technical processes, and help students review material. If you are interested in developing some videos, please contact Kay DiMarco (facultystudio@e– to schedule a consultation or to plan a visit with her at the EMS Faculty Studio in 4 Hosler Building.