Tweaking Your Class To Prepare for a New Semester

Tips for Tweaking Your Class as You Prepare for a New Semester This is a good time to think about how to take a fresh approach to teaching in the fall. Sometimes just a few “tweaks” can make a course more learner-centered. Here are several ideas that consistently work in classes of any size: Conduct an informal class survey. Rather than waiting for end-of-semester evaluations of teaching, plan to conduct your own informal survey of teaching between the fourth and sixth weeks of class. This provides enough time for you and your students to have adjusted to the course and…

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Desktop Faculty Development

Desktop faculty development is a term coined by Rick Reis at Stanford, and like many faculty I find that most of my professional development often occurs that way. When I have questions about a topic, I immediately begin a web search looking for common terms. Next I hit the libraries, and finally specific books on the topic. Attending conferences helps to broaden my general awareness of topics that I investigate further at my desktop. Talking to experts about whatever I am studying is another part of the process. If I can’t meet the experts at a conference, most researchers are…

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Getting the Word Out

“Getting the word out” to students has become more challenging as social media trends change rapidly and new platforms emerge. Whether a faculty member wants to notify students of a class cancellation, the athletics department announces free t-shirts at the next home game, or we are asking them to complete their Teaching Surveys, deciding which platform to use is daunting. Email is the official communication of the university but according to a recent article in the New York Times, “Young people much prefer online chats and text messages. The future of messaging is more real time, more conversational, and more…

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