As I have been working on the ThinkAchieve Quality Assessment Plan, I have pondered long on if I even think that I know how to think critically. If so, how is that exhibited? Can my students “see” it? Can I explain how I “do” it? How do faculty express their critical thinking skills? See http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/12/22/essay-whether-writing-instructors-need-assess-themselves for a perspective on this… What would happen if we took our own tests?
Interesting article on what students see as the most important characteristics of faculty…. See http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/philosophy-of-teaching/what-students-want-characteristics-of-effective-teachers-from-the-students-perspective/?c=FF2 The full paper is online at http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/Resource_library/handouts/28251_10H.pdf (Student Perceptions of Effective Teaching in Higher Education). Number one on the list? Respect! And read the full report to see what students mean by that term…..
Professors of the year are announced and I am intrigued by the videos made by one professor to help students understand how to be successful learners. (How to get the most out of studying….)
What should you do as faculty on the first day of classes? Does it matter? Research says that it does. Here are some hints on what to do…
Introduce yourself to the students. Be sure to let the students know what you want them to call you – Dr.? Professor? First name? Tell the students a little about yourself, in particular how your passion for your discipline was started. Let students know the best way to reach you – email, phone, etc. – and your office hours preferences. Can they drop by? Do they need to make an appointment?
Do more than go over the syllabus. Whatever you plan for the semester, do it on the first day. Let students see that you value class time and expect to use it over the course of the semester. Engage the students in the discipline to get them excited about the course content. Connect your course with other content.
Design a way to get an idea about what students already know about the course content. Introduce the course, explain how you designed the class and why you designed it that way. Review how the tests and assessments will measure the learning outcomes. You might be able to gauge how motivated the students are about the course content.
If you require the students to buy a book for your course, be sure to review how they should use it and how you will use the text. Give students an idea of how to approach and read the textbook. What’s the best way to determine what’s important in the text, chapters, etc.?
Be sure to go over your expectations for the class, the course outcomes, and your perspective on what the students need to do to prepare for class and punctuality, attendance, etc. Outline the students’ responsibility in learning. Review the best ways to study the course material and the course. Review UTC’s policies on cheating and plagiarism.
Let students know if you will be using UTC Online, for what purposes and what they need to look for in that system. You might also refer them to the self-paced training in the system in which they can self-enroll. http://utconline.utc.edu/
Some additional resources on the first day of class are listed below.
insightful video on teaching…
Transparency in teaching? Being obvious in why we ask students to do what we ask them to? A good idea..see http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/mama_phd/mothering_at_mid_career_transparent_teaching
What you do on the first day of classes sets the tone for the rest of the semester.
If you hand out the syllabus and hold up the book and then let them go early, what does that say about the importance of class time?
If you read the syllabus to them, do they “hear” that it isn’t important to read for themselves?
If you ask them to do an activity related to the content you are teaching, does it set the stage for future class participation?
Here are some links to other ideas for the first day of class:
And there are a lot more resources out there.
An interesting article on Inside Higher Education yesterday with some poignant quotes…
From Fradella, H. F. (August 24, 2010). Fixing higher ed. Inside Higher Ed, Retrieved August 24, 2010 from http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/08/24/fradella.
“First, no one should be able to earn a Ph.D. and secure a faculty position in an institution of higher education who has not taken graduate-level courses that prepare them to teach effectively at the college level. Graduate education must provide the next generation of college instructors the pedagogical toolkit to be more effective teachers, as well as more effective assessors of student learning” (¶ 14).
In reference to using test banks that come with instructor copies of texts: “These questions focus exclusively on content and are targeted at low levels of cognitive achievement in Bloom’s taxonomy of learning domains: mere recall of data or information. These assessments do not provide any basis for professors to test students’ ability to analyze, synthesize, or evaluate information in a manner that demonstrates critical thinking, writing, or problem-solving abilities” (¶ 16).
“Such assessments must focus not just on the content of professors’ courses, but also on how they develop critical thinking, writing, reasoning, and problem-solving skills” (¶ 18).
What do you think?
…and we are crazy in the Walker Teaching Resource Center. I probably should be doing other things, but wanted to post an initial post about our new blog.
I hope to use this space to share thoughts and reflections on teaching and learning. I read so many articles and books that force me to think, perhaps writing can help me make sense of them all.
My latest thoughts have been around how I can make assignments more about teaching and student learning rather than student assessment. How can assignments be used as teaching tools to help student learn instead of some “final” assessment of how they are doing? So often, students complete an assignment and then we all move on…perhaps to never return to the material and learning again. We expect students to learn from their mistakes but may never hold them accountable for that part of their learning. Musing on how that can happen and how I might be able to explain that to students in a non-threatening way.