When the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment released its findings in April of 2012, it addressed the ways that faculty engagement can enhance student retention and persistence. It also highlighted the importance of faculty-student engagement and expressed an increased need for professional development opportunities that facilitate instructional effectiveness through the improved use of technology. (Rhodes 2012)
Even before the days of digital distractions, teachers often struggled with inattentive students doodling on their notebook or falling asleep on their desk. The problem then as well as today is that students at every age have trouble focussing on a lecture for more than 15 minutes at a time.
While the term “lecture” can have a negative connotation in many educational circles, it remains an effective and efficient way to transmit knowledge from one expert to a room full of students within the confines of a one hour period. Luckily, the traditional lecture format is evolving to include a few techniques that can maximize the amount of content retained and increase the attention span of the modern student.
As experts in our field of study, we can sometimes forget the difficulties that students face when learning a complex topic. The “Minute Paper” technique asks students to write down their thoughts on a specific concept or problem in a 1–5 minute time frame, and can greatly increase the amount of interactive learning in even the largest of classrooms.