There’s no discounting the importance of the first day of class. What happens that day sets the tone for the rest of the course. Outlined
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Looking to incorporate some learner-centered teaching principles into your courses but aren’t sure where to begin? Here are 10 activities for building student engagement and getting students more actively involved in their learning.
Every course has assignments, but do they get the attention they deserve or do the same versions end up in the syllabus year after year? How much variety is there in the assignments students complete, in degree programs or even across their years at the institution? Bottom line: we think there’s more that could be done with assignments, and this feature aims to provide examples that illustrate innovative approaches and thoughtful attention to design details.
Faculty regularly face the problem of getting the students most in need of help to come to the office for help. Not only do a small number of students take advantage of office hours, typically those who show up are not those who most need to be there. In previous issues we have reported on research that offers some reasons why this happens. When students start getting feedback that they are doing poorly, some begin to doubt their abilities. They conclude that they just don’t have what it takes and so getting help isn’t going to make any difference. Other times, it’s the stress of having to face the professor with their failure. Some students are so lost, they don’t even know what to ask, and their confidence is so shaken, they have trouble processing helpful information when it’s delivered.
It’s good to regularly review the advantages and disadvantages of the most commonly used test questions and the test banks that now frequently provide them.
Do we communicate more with students in writing than we used to? I think so. In addition to the course syllabus, the usual handouts, and written feedback on papers, projects, and performances, we now share all kinds of electronic messages with students. We exchange emails, post announcements on course management systems, and participate in online discussions. Those who use PowerPoint tend to make rather text-heavy slides. And if you happen to teach online, then virtually all your communication with students occurs via some written format.
There’s only one first day of class. Here are some ideas for taking advantage of opportunities that are not available in the same way on any other day of the course.
About 10 years ago, the Teaching Professor Blog found a good home on Faculty Focus which provided a fitting forum for reaching a large contingent of college faculty beyond the monthly print newsletter. But nothing stays the same and changing environments create new opportunities and call for new responses. That’s why you’ll begin noticing changes to the Teaching Professor and Faculty Focus.