Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

syllabus

Report Uncovers the Hidden Costs of Managing Syllabi

How much time do you spend each semester creating, updating or maintaining your course syllabi?

According to a new report released today by the Syllabus Institute, on average instructors spend more than 24 hours creating a new course syllabus. The average instructor also spends 6.5 hours updating their syllabus for a new semester and nearly 3.5 hours maintaining their syllabus throughout a semester.

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Three Simple Keys to Effective Classroom Management

Fall semester is well underway at my institution. Prior to classes starting I had the opportunity to have lunch with a couple of fellow faculty members. During our lunch, we discussed many topics related to the upcoming term, but classroom management emerged as a common point of contention.

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Preparing Teaching Philosophy Statements

Although they are a fairly recent innovation, most faculty are familiar with teaching philosophy statements. Many have prepared them for job interviews, for promotion and tenure dossiers, for teaching awards, or for personal benefit.

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Don’t Waste the First Day of Class

Despite the fact that numerous articles have been written on the importance of the first day, too many of us still use it to do little more than go over the syllabus and review basic guidelines for the course. This year I decided to try a different approach, and the results were much more dramatic than I expected. I taught real material on the first day. Despite that, there have been fewer questions about course policies, with some students actually referencing them without even a mention from me. Let me explain how I achieved these results.

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What Students Expect from Instructors, Other Students

Some years back The Teaching Professor featured an article highlighting Mano Singham’s wonderful piece describing how he moved away from a very authoritarian, rule-centered syllabus (reference below). It’s one of my very favorite articles—I reference it regularly in presentations, and it appears on almost every bibliography I distribute.

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Making the Most of the First Day of Class

The first day of class is an important time. In addition to the usual housekeeping tasks that need to be accomplished, there are other critical functions of the first day of class – not the least of which involves setting the tone for the course.

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Why Are You Taking This Course?

Do you challenge students to think about why they’re taking a course? Most faculty are discouraged by the very common “because it’s required” response. Equally discouraging is what students hope to get out of a course. Sometimes they seem perplexed by the question! The answer is so obvious—they want an A.

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A Modular Course Design Benefits Online Instructor and Students

Andrea Henne, dean of online and distributed learning in the San Diego Community College District, recommends creating online courses composed of modules—discrete, self-contained learning experiences—and uses a course development method that specifies what to include in each module.

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