Students are never more attentive than they are on the first day of class, when they’re eager to determine what kind of professor they’re dealing with, and although it is tempting to delay the real work of teaching and learning until the class list has stabilized, it can be difficult to change even the subtle norms that are established during this initial class. Several years ago, I tried a new approach, and I’ve been using it with great success ever since...
I have no hard proof, but I suspect that this opening day reading helped set a tone that encouraged this broader openness and that it will inspire me and my students to maintain that tone throughout the term...
The interest inventory is a simple tool to help you acquaint yourself with your students. Unlike the many icebreakers, the interest inventory is a paper-based activity and students do not have to give answers aloud in front of class. The interest inventory, therefore, helps you get to know your students privately and allows you to ask different questions than you would during oral introductions...
Each new semester as I walk down the hallway to my classroom, I am a little nervous, even after 27 years of teaching experience…and I’m okay with this. I think when I get to the point where I don’t feel this anxiety, I won’t be as effective a teacher. After all, I will be walking into that classroom for the next four months and it’s important to make a good first impression. Below are 10 tips to help you get off to a great start...
So now...how to go about learning your students' names??
One of the most frequent comments I hear from faculty throughout the year is that many have a tough time learning students names. We all know the importance of learning student names as soon as possible and the impact it has on student success. I thought I would share a great list that I found (divided by ways students can learn each other’s names, and things instructors can do both in and out of class to learn names). Visit 20 Tips for Learning Student Names to check out these helpful tips!
I was excited that the techniques I use most made the list too, so I’ll share them here:
14. Association Techniques
Associate any students who have the same name as someone you know to help you remember them. This method of “anchoring” a student with someone else you know can help you establish a system for remembering other students. For example, if you know who Leah is because she looks like your neighbor, you can learn that “the person who usually sits next to Leah is…” and so on.
When calling roll, annotate the class list and take note of any memorable features beside the student’s name. For example, “Stacy has curly blonde hair.” Additionally, using the above association technique can be useful here.
I will also make an effort to show them I am trying to learn their names by repeating them often when I address them in class. It’s okay to say “remind me of your name again…” if you happen to forget. Feel free to share any tried and true name-learning tips that you have!
During the semester break we will be upgrading our Blackboard system. This will involve between 1 and 2 days of downtime. At the current time, the update is scheduled for December 30th. We will make sure to send multiple e-mail reminders as we approach that time. However, the timeframe was chosen specifically to be LEAST impactful on students and faculty that use the system.
Here are some things that are coming with the new upgrade that would be of interest to faculty:
There are many other small enhancements that you will find when the new system becomes available in 2018!
Introducting...Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources
You may not be aware that there is an incredible group out there to provide information, assistance, and a wealth of resources regarding Open Education Resources at the community college. This is CCCOER (the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources). College of Lake County is one of two Illinois institutional members of CCCOER.
So...what do they have to offer?
CCCOER offers monthly webinars from OER experts at community colleges nationwide. All are archived on their website so you can view them any time. Coming up on Wednesday, November 15--"How OER can support student equity and diversity"
BASIC INFO TO HELP FACULTY MEMBERS UNDERSTAND OER
Learn why OER is important, how to use open licenses, how to find OER, how to adopt OER, and what research is being done in the field.
HOW TO PLAN FOR OER
This area discusses why it's important to plan (from the institutional, faculty and student perspectives) and shares various online professional development resources regarding OER
CCCOER hosts an active listserv with VERY helpful discussions from faculty and staff regarding OER. They are phenomenal about answering direct questions, sharing what is being done at other institutions, and even helping locate existing OER. You can subscribe to the listserv or you can search archives.
Visit the CCCOER website and check it out!
Helping students finish this semester and prepare for the next...
We are nearing the end of the semester, so it is time to think about helping students complete this semester successfully and prepare for next semester. The following are some suggestions that may help students:
More on rubrics
Whether using College of Lake County rubrics (see October Assessment Tip) or those you create yourself, rubrics support student learning in two important ways:
1) They determine the stages of learning a particular skill or creating a particular assignment, and they describe what those stages look like.
2) They objectively assess student learning and communicate direct, clear, and concise feedback to students.
Highlights of what rubrics can do for your students and your teaching:
If you have any questions about how to create or use rubrics for specific assignments in your courses or for use in Academic Department Review, please don’t hesitate to contact Vasilka Maslanka, assessment coordinator at x2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Capitalize On Your Students' Digital Habits
CLC subscribes to the Magna 20-Minute Mentor. Just go to Blackboard, select the Communities tab at the top right, and select TLETC. The first link, Magna Professional Development Resources, will allow you to connect to the 20-Minute Mentor Commons, where you can search for which titles interest you.
Check out the following 20-minute videos that each speak to ways you can capitalize on your students' digital habits!
How Can I Engage Generation C?
In just 20 minutes, this presentation covers the nature of the Generation C phenomenon and how it relates to classroom management, formative assessment tools, and low- and no-cost techniques for enhancing student engagement. From cell phones to Post-Its, this presentation is full of practical tips on how to connect with students.
How Can I Leverage Force Multipliers in the Classroom?
This presentation will show you how to enhance your productivity and improve your efficiency by accessing a host of what could easily be described as virtual teaching assistants. You’ll learn how to get help with all the things that matter to you: grading, teaching, interacting with students, conducting research, and kindling students’ interest in learning.
How Can I Inspire Creative Confidence in the Classroom?
Learn a step-by-step method for cultivating your students’ creativity in any subject area while deepening their engagement with course content and strengthening their presentation skills. You’ll learn how to use 21st-century approaches and techniques, like transactive thinking and creativity tools, to help your students imagine, innovate, and implement.
The Blackboard Retention Center
The Retention Center helps you discover which students in your course are at risk. Based on default rules and rules you create, students' engagement and participation are visually displayed, quickly alerting you to potential risk. From the Retention Center, you can communicate with struggling students and help them take immediate action for improvement.
You can use the Retention Center features immediately—no setup required.
This video explains how to monitor and contact students, view and modify default rules for alerts, and create new rules.
What do you know about OpenStax?
OpenStax, a group out of Rice University, is a widely known OER resource for fully-developed, peer-reviewed free online textbooks. It offers a series of professionally developed books for high enrollment courses (mostly in in the areas of math, science, social science and humanities, although Business texts are in progress) at openstax.org. It also offers an OER repository at cnx.org that any faculty member can publish too (with a wide variety of content represented).
Some facts about the OER Material at OpenStax:
1) You can just take the content and use it as is! Many think that OER needs to be developed by scratch, but that's definitely not the case. If you like the content, so can just take it and use it. At CLC, some sociology and history courses utilize the OpenStax books.
2) You can easily modify the content. Each OpenStax book is creative commons licensed so that you can adapt the book and add your own content to fit your direct educational needs. At CLC, statistics is one class that has taken advantage of this option.
3) OpenStax CNX: The content in OpenStax CNX comes in two formats: modules, which are like small "knowledge chunks," and collections, which are groups of modules structured into books or course notes, or for other uses. Our open license allows for free use and reuse of all our content.
4) OpenStax also hosts a series of free webinars that anyone can join to help you learn more about OpenStax and OER in general. OpenStax and OER: A Quick Overview will be held on Oct. 18 from 2-3pm.
Finally, CLC was recently selected to be an OpenStax Institutional Partner. They are an integral factor in helping us come up with a direct strategic plan for OER and connecting us with other institutions nationwide.
Managing Misbehavior in the College Classroom
Dear Cult of Pedagogy,
I just finished my first year of teaching at the college level. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I had a lot of behavior problems. In almost every class I had a few students who would talk or text right over my lecture. I never expected to have these issues in college, but I do, and I don’t know what to do about it. Do you know of any resources that can help me deal with this issue?
When faculty members mention classroom misbehavior, probably the most frequent example cited is talking and/texting in class. How do YOU deal with such behavior?
One of my favorite sites, Cult of Pedagogy, offers up some solutions here: www.cultofpedagogy.com/misbehavior-college-classroom/ It has great practical examples for Quick Fixes (such as tips for using proximity), Long Term Solutions (such as examples of developing class rules), and resources for developing a system.
Another great option is right here through the TLETC, where Cheri Sinnott, faculty member in BSS is offering a 5-week online class "Classroom Management in the College Classroom":
"Problems with discipline" is the number one reason that administrators fail to rehire teachers or award tenure. Teachers report student misbehavior to be their primary source of career-based stress, and former teachers report it to be the number one reason that they left the field (www.behavioradvisor.com). Many college instructors are subject matter experts and have not participated in specific training related to classroom management. Participants in this course will learn about classroom management strategies that support positive student behavior.
To register, click here or visit the TLETC website.
The TLETC Blog is a great way to find out what is going on with regard to teaching, pedagogy, and educational technology.