By the third or fourth week of most courses, students have had a reality check. They have taken the first exam, received feedback on their first paper, or otherwise discovered that the course isn’t quite what they had expected or hoped it would be. Here are a few reminders as to what many beginning students and some others might be thinking at this point in the semester.
Teaching first-semester freshmen presents some unique challenges. You are teaching them not only your subject, but also how to be college students. One of the best strategies I have found is to begin with a collaborative project that asks them to research their new home: the campus.
Most students begin college, the academic year, and new courses motivated and optimistic. Many first-year students expect to do well because they were successful in high school. Some are right, but others will only find similar success if they work much harder than they did in high school. Yet most start out expending the same level of effort. They will talk with their classmates and convince each other that an exam covering three chapters can’t be that hard, so they put off studying and then “look over” the chapters the night before— happily dealing with any and all interruptions and distractions.
By: Mary Bart
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. It’s week 12 of a 15-week-semester and a student shows up during office hours asking, begging, for some way that he can raise his grade. He needs a B, he says, or he could lose his scholarship.
By: Loren Kleinman
There is an overwhelming amount of literature that addresses strategies to develop and facilitate teaching and learning in the online classroom as a way to engage and retain first-year students. Students and faculty in the online classroom are faced with a unique situation: classes without a physical classroom. Professors are also faced with a unique situation: creating a unified class that is engaged and well informed on the structure of the course in order to create a total learning environment (Quitadamo and Brown 2001).
Tuesday’s post discussed the goals and core practices of effective learning communities. Today we outline elements of sustainable learning communities as well as some of the challenges of learning community development.
By: Loren Kleinman
As a former editor in the business profession and now educator, I see connections between business and classroom best practices, especially applying professional development plans and performance reflection exercises as academic learning agreements in order to promote student leadership and engagement.
By: Mary Bart
On top of everything college faculty are responsible for, there’s one that may be easy to overlook or even deem as unnecessary: Teaching students how to be students. Do so at your peril because most students need a little help understanding and practicing the skills and behaviors they need to succeed.
By: Rob Kelly
After years of service and moving up through the faculty ranks, senior faculty members often feel they have earned the privilege of concentrating their teaching efforts on upper-division courses, leaving the introductory courses to younger faculty members. It seems fair enough: If you stick around long enough, you will be able to teach the courses you enjoy most. But is it the best arrangement for students?