Best Practices

An activity that can be used to get groups talking and to get the creative juices flowing is to provide a list (content-focused or not) and

  1. ask participants: What would you add to, subtract from, or edit in this list? This could be used to jump-start a blog or class discussion. There are no right or wrong answers, though most of the time the reasons behind an action are volunteered.
  2. or if the list is a ranking of items, discussion of how the items ended up in their places can be interesting.

Creating your own lists for the group or having the group create the list can focus members on one or more topics. If your purpose is community-building, you can find lists that will evoke humor and some debate in books (Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and The Book of Lists are natural choices.) or on many websites.

A Sample of Resources for General Use

Humor with a point.

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?
Author Unknown
Adapted from

Top Ten Lists

Many topics have ranked lists. In cases where the data determines the ranking, discussions of reasons for the rankings or of changes over time can be enlightening. In cases where the ranking is determined by expert opinion or polls, discussions of reasons for the determinations and whether or not the group agrees can be interesting.

TIME Magazine's 25 Top Ten Lists

The People's Priorities: Gallup's Top 10

A Sample of Resources for Specific Disciplines

College of Arts and Humanities
These Headlines are not just for Journalists; all writers can learn from them:

The Writing Teacher's Book of Lists with Ready-to-Use Activities and Worksheets, 2nd Edition by Gary Robert Muschla

Your course content might not include mechanics, but you might wish to review and reinforce good practices using some of the lists in this book. (Example: One Minute Paper: Give the group a list of words and ask them to identify one or more synonyms or antonyms for each. Nice warm up activity.)

Top 10 Significant Presidential Elections in American History '

College of Business
Seventeen Things I Believe
Bob Sutton, Stanford Professor and Author
In left side bar of

College of Health and Public Affairs
Men's top 10 health threats: Mostly preventable ' Mayo Clinic
The Top Ten Reasons for Soaring Health-Care Costs by Charles Wheelan, Ph.D.

College of Sciences
United States Geological Survey Earthquake Top 10 Lists

External Web Sites

  • Dr. Lisa Rodriguez provides a comprehensive list of classroom management procedures and tips
  • Offers 15 common problem behaviors and possible solutions for them
  • Gives tips on setting a productive classroom atmosphere and how to connect to students
  • Gives list of ways to help students become College students

  • Excellent letter to students regarding Academic Integrity

  • Faculty provided a consensus on a few common problem and offered their suggestions

  • Discusses building a reputation of effort, flexibility, firmness, and fairness
  • Emphasizes having a knowledge of content and how it can keep students engaged
  • Provides insight on how to keep students interested and how to respond when your authority is challenged

  • Provides suggestions on how to handle specific crisis scenarios

Faculty Spotlight View Other Award Winners

Joanna Mishtal
College of Sciences Joanna       Mishtal Having grown up in communist Poland, my memories of school days include intimidating oral exams in front of the class, punitive pop quizzes, severe discipline, and a symbolic barrier between student and teacher. After more than 20 years in the United States, these memories remind me of the kind of teacher I do n...

Alice Noblin
College of Health and Public Affairs Alice Noblin I often utilize project-based learning so Health Informatics and Information Management (HIIM) students are able to apply concepts to “real world” scenarios. This type of application allows me to ascertain the student‘s true understanding of important HIIM concepts. This type of experience also ...

Tosha Dupras
College of Sciences Tosha  Dupras The goal of my teaching, and center of my teaching philosophy, is active learning. One of my ultimate objectives in teaching is to facilitate learning by helping students to gain the necessary skills to take control of and become active participants in their own learning. I truly believe that knowledge gained thro...