At a conference in 2011, I saw a speaker use a think-pair-share exercise with a room of more than 200 strangers. Within two minutes, he could barely quiet the room and the following conversation was rich and meaningful. I have used this strategy heavily in my classroom ever since.
Even though I am a firm believer in this discussion method, I am not always the best practitioner.
Leaves are falling, the air is crisp, and, once again, it is time for Denison students to register for spring classes. Along with course registration comes opportunities for students to make advising appointments with faculty members. Gone are the days when you had to email students back and forth 20 times to find a perfect time for an advising session.
It’s that time of year. Students are getting their midterm grades, and you’re faced with that inevitable question, “Can I do some extra credit?” This short article from Faculty Focus argues that extra credit does not treat the issue – a deficiency in understanding. If a tennis player is struggling with their serve, doing extra practice on their backhand will probably not help their serve game.
The past 18 months have been challenging. Even with the return to the classroom, there are still many issues and concerns when it comes to our teaching. Ashley Harvey refers to some of these challenges as the emotional labor of teaching. Her article Seven Strategies for Embracing the Emotional Labor of Teaching helps us navigate this.
Faculty careers are long, characterized by many transitions from achieving tenure and promotion to balancing work and family. The longest stage of the faculty career is the mid-career stage, which includes recently tenured associate professors up to faculty colleagues who are 10 years out from retirement. The purpose of this professional development workshop is to assist mid-career faculty across the GLCA in navigating in and through various transitions and career paths successfully.
As we near the half-way mark, consider getting mid-semester feedback from your students. Mid-semester evaluations:
- provide a chance to correct student misconceptions or make changes to the course schedule, activities, etc. if necessary.
- give students an opportunity to reflect on their own expectations, efforts, and learning.
- let students know you care about their input.
Here are some sample mid-semester evaluations you can use or adapt for our course:
- This check-off format from Seattle University makes it easy for your students to provide specific feedback, as well as some open-ended questions.
Have you used the new Say My Name feature from NoteBowl to learn how to pronounce your students names? This article from Inside Higher Ed explores the importance of using and correctly pronouncing the names of Hispanic and Latino students in the New York City school system, and how this impacts their later learning.
Creating interactive videos for your class offers a different learning experience for students, increases student engagement with media content, and provides a way to gauge student comprehension of content through checking in on what they understand. Check out this post “Interactive Videos for your Classes” to see some of the options that ETS recommends for creating these videos.
Now that we are back in-person, many of us are excited to engage in those lively classroom discussions. Could you use a few pointers? The Chronicle article, How to Hold a Better Class Discussion, has many practical tips and suggestions. The article is nicely divided into sections:
- Why Discussion Matters
- 7 Strategies to Change the Norms of Class Discussions
- How to Keep a Discussion on Track
- Common Challenges: Participation Grades, Bad Answers, and Divisive Topics
Don’t forget, you can access Chronicle articles directly through Denison’s institutional account.
Back in classrooms does not mean we have to leave behind the opportunities to create meaningful asynchronous class discussion in Notebowl. This summer, ETS hosted a workshop titled “Engage Students with Meaningful Discussion Boards.” This ETS blog post covers the main takeaways from the workshop, and it also includes resources for creating discussion boards in Notebowl (on the ETS YouTube Playlist).