Use Revise and Resubmit Instead of Extra Credit

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.

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Career – So You’re Mid-Career, Now What?: Next Steps of Your Faculty Journey

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.

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Teaching – Midterm Course Evaluations

As we near the half-way mark, consider getting mid-semester feedback from your students. Mid-semester evaluations:

  1. provide a chance to correct student misconceptions or make changes to the course schedule, activities, etc. if necessary.
  2. give students an opportunity to reflect on their own expectations, efforts, and learning.
  3. 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.

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Teaching – How to hold a better class discussion

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
  • Resources

Don’t forget, you can access Chronicle articles directly through Denison’s institutional account.

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Teaching II – how is class going?

Trying something new this semester? It’s never too early to get feedback from your students. Here is a simple feedback technique I head from Dr. Sarah Wolff in Mathematics she calls KQS. Students complete the following:

  1. Keep doing this
  2. Quit doing this
  3. Start doing this

It only takes a few minutes, and is a low-cost way to get some valuable feedback and act as a conversation started of why you do something a particular way.

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Teaching – how to access participation

Class discussion plays a key role in many of our classes at Denison. So much so that many of us include class participation as a percentage of the course grade. But how do we access participation? Is it just how many times a student speaks in class? Does this reward the risk-taking extrovert and penalize the introvert who needs time to process?

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Teaching – the first day of class

I’ve had quite a few first days since I taught my first class (last century, cough cough). Regardless, I’ve always reviewed Lang’s How to Teach a Good First Day of Class since it first appeared in the Chronicle a few years ago. It is always updated for the new school year and focuses on four key concepts to help set a productive first impression:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Community
  3. Learning
  4. Expectations
The article is chockfull of good ideas and useful tips that can be skimmed quickly.

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What I learned about the Expert Blindspot

One common challenge of expert instructors is understanding the learning needs of novice students, known as the expert blindspot. Between semesters, a group of Denison faculty participated in the Rubik’s Cube Challenge: An Expert Blindspot Learning Adventure with colleagues from Furman University.
Not only did Dr. Jane Saffitz, Anthropology and Sociology, learn how to solve the cube, but the experience provided insight into her students’ learning.

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