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Work Smarter, Not Harder - Tips - FaCET

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Tip Sheet No. 29
by Carol Graham, Management
from the CTL Workshop presented on March 31, 1997


1. Make a matrix of your classes showing when assignments will be due and space out the assignments to avoid having huge grading tasks. Do this even for different sections of the same class.

2. Keep a personal small notebook handy to record ideas, good test questions, demonstrations, etc.
3. Use color-coded folders for different course elements (tests, syllabi, etc).

4. Use sticky notes to write a message to yourself concerning what worked and what didn’t— put it on that date in your class outlines and you’ll have a reminder the next time you cover the material.

5. Arrange for e-mail accounts for students for easier discussion of class-issues and for posting class-announcements (thus saving in-class time). Contact Curtis Williams (5251) for more information.

If your students are working in groups, they can take attendance for each other (have two categories of absences: notified the group/did not notify).

Grading papers:

1. Don’t grade unacceptable papers— return them for re-writes.

2. Have students grade each others’ work before the draft you receive— grade their job of grading.

3. Spend more time on the first essays as students are getting to know you.

4. Require students to generate a personal list of writing errors which they should then use to check their own work before turning it in.

5. Use folders for quickly collecting and returning materials to students. For large classes you may cluster material by groups (if you are using groups for activities).
Connecting material to real life:

1. Have students use journals to connect class concepts to “real life.” Grade only for honest participation in the task and only grade a subsample of entries.

2. Take over a bulletin board in your classroom and have students bring in newspaper articles, etc. relevant to the course content. Perhaps have discussions over posted information.
Assigned Readings:

Students are more likely to read it if they have to write something about it— even a short something.


1. On occasion have the students create exam questions and grade them a) on the quality of the questions and b) on their answers to the questions.

2. For multiple choice exams, use the end note feature of your word processor to automatically generate an answer sheet.

In class:

1. Stop half-way through class and have students compare their notes with a neighbor— gives them time to assimilate the information.

2. Have them write a “1 minute essay” during the last few minutes of class on what they learned (issues, questions or surprises).

For more information about this workshop, contact the CTL staff or any of the following individuals who attended:

Angela Gonzalez, Dean May, Martha Jenkins, Michelle Randolph, Joyce Rasdall, Lisa Rexroat, Kim Roger, Kelly Schindler, Shelby Scruggs, Brian Stone, or Joyce Wilder.

The Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching
facet@wku.edu -- Phone (270) 745-6508 -- Fax (270) 745-6145.
Location: 1783 Chestnut Street, Bowling Green, KY 42101.
Mailing Address: 1906 College Heights Blvd #11095, Bowling Green, KY 42101-1095.
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