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Learning in a nontraditional environment

Learning in college can be difficult for many students, and unlike high school classes, courses can be full of up to a hundred other students. Students learn at different rates and through different methods, and the standard method of lecturing in college can make it difficult for many to absorb information. To combat this issue, some professors incorporate project-based learning and student-focused information into their curriculums.

Being engaged in a class is an integral part of understanding the material. One way professors can work to create a more engaging classroom environment is by moving away from lecture-based classes and utilizing projects and class discussions.

Josh Antonuccio, director and associate professor in the School of Media and Arts, said he works to keep students engaged in his music business courses by incorporating industry-related lessons in the courses. Antonnucio does this by applying the information he is teaching to the music industry and including guest lectures from professionals in the industry.

“I know a lot of students are passionate about creative industries,” Antonuccio said. “So trying to keep it very out of the theoretical and into the practical and actual realities of where those industries are and where they're going.”

Antonuccio explained throughout his time as a professor, he has shifted his teaching style to one that is more student-centric. He explained that in his courses he tries to put himself in the shoes of his students and think of what would help them best prepare for a career.

Having a professor who cares about the students' learning experiences can make the difference between a remarkable and lackluster course. Eden Kadosh, a freshman studying integrated language arts education, explained a course she is taking where she feels the professor’s teaching style is helping her succeed.

“It’s a very open classroom environment,” Kadosh said. “It feels really connected and fun and so the way that he keeps the room feel lighthearted and just like safe has made it the best environment for me to learn.”

Kadosh explained she learns best in an interactive environment and that when a course is solely lecture, she has difficulty absorbing the content.

Some students, though, prefer lecture-based courses and have difficulty learning in a less organized environment.

“He was just all over the place, and it wasn't really structured,” Avery Giesler, a sophomore studying psychology, said about one of her previous courses where she felt she couldn’t learn. 

Giesler explained she feels she learns best through lectures because it allows her to absorb the information the professor is teaching.

While lecture-based courses can be difficult for many students to feel engaged and learn, the organized and systematic nature can be beneficial to students who require structure to learn.

Students learn in a variety of ways, and a professor who adheres to this can help ensure their student's success. 

“I like to think I’ve tried to become more student-centric, really thinking about if I were a student, what I want to learn what would help me prepare for a career,” Antonuccio said.

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