The Adams Center hosted January Jumpstart Friday before the first day of class. This conversational session consisted of the Adams Center staff, and faculty in attendance, sharing engagement activities. The following ideas were shared. Please contact Amy Boone at for more information.

Note-taking during reading and lecture (to also use for Finals):

Provide a notebook/journal for students that is designated for your class. Tell students from the beginning of the class that all notes taken in that notebook during their reading and in class will be available to them for their Final exam. While this doesn’t guarantee the students will read and remain engaged in class, it does incentivize their engagement in the readings and class.

Show and Tell (bring a personal artifact):

Students are invited to bring a personal artifact for a “show and tell” time in class. This activity helps the professor remember the students better from the first week. This practice creates a comfort level that sets the tone for offering feedback to classmates during the course of the class through writing assignments. It is appropriate for welcoming various levels of vulnerability. For more information about learning in community, see Relationship Rich Education by Felten and Lambert.

Bloom’s: Remembering the importance of the lower levels 

In a class with less content and more thinking that lends itself to higher levels of Bloom’s, remember how Bloom’s Taxonomy really works. Prepare the students with the knowledge and comprehension so they CAN synthesize and evaluate. Just because the class lends itself to higher level thinking, find ways to honor the knowledge part of learning. For more tips on small knowledge and comprehension practices, see Small Teaching by James Lang and/or join the Small Teaching book group for Spring ‘22.

Canvas tips 

See this link for some engaging Canvas tips.

Professor Check-ins

Ask students to sign up for individual 10 minute meetings for you to get to know each other. Incentivize with bonus points, if you choose.

Set up scaffolding during the course of a long group project so the students can have professor check-in for their group’s engagement.

Use “elbow buddy” system

Use the elbow buddy system (whoever is sitting next to your literal elbow) for interaction with content or with personal questions to build community and increase engagement among classmates.

Library e-reserve lists

The library can create a link to the e-reserve list of your class readings. The library can modify content on the backend to ensure the link remains the same.

Cancel class for work on a long term project

During the course of a long project, cancel class, but require students to meet with you for half an hour during that week one on one. The students have what they perceive as additional time, but you have one on one time to invest more in each student’s project.

Large class “teams”

Utilize clicker (Kahoot or Poll Everywhere) questions that are answered by class teams instead of individual responses to keep them engaged and encourage community.


Number off students in groups for smaller discussions then ask a certain “number” in each group to rotate to a new group to share from the previous group.

Google doc/sheet/form for engagement with others

Assign smaller groups of students to be responsible for a google doc/sheet/form going on during class. This can also be a good reference for class participation and engagement. The variety of material produced in the collaboration on the doc helps students learn from other groups.