What Do Students Want in a Teacher?

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 announced….

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….)


The First Day of Classes: The Easiest Day of the Semester (? – NOT!)

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…

shake hands 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.


textbooks 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.?




hammer 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.





online 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.

Getting ready for fall semester….

In the frenzy of preparing for a new fall semester, I came across this article/blog about the idea that students feel entitled.  While I don’t actually agree with all of this guy’s statements (read the comments!), I do think that we are missing the mark.  We need to figure out how to help students see the student-faculty relationship as more akin to a doctor/patient relationship.  A relationship that has to involve both parties in the progress and treatment of a “learning” problem….?  http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/07/29/bell_essay_on_changing_classroom_experience_to_meet_student_demands


My second “hmmmm” article from today is an interesting take on the skill set needed by faculty today. http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2011/08/01/essay_on_the_skill_set_needed_for_faculty_members_in_the_coming_era

Teaching Teaching Understanding Understanding

insightful video on teaching…


Advice for online learners (how to be successful)

A list of hints for online learners…


Why do we have to do this?

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

Convincing students

How might one convince students that active learning is going to help them learn?  What rationale can professors provide to convince students to buy into active learning strategies and to reach for deeper learning?  Recently an article was mentioned that addressed this topic well, I believe.

Gary Smith, in a 2008 article on the National Teaching & Learning Forum, presented some ideas about some questions to ask students on the first day of classes.  These questions are something along the lines as follows.

“Thinking of what you want to get out of your college education and this course, which of the following is most important to you?

1.  Acquiring information (facts, principles, concepts)

2. Learning how to use information and knowledge in new situations

3. Developing lifelong learning skills.”

The first time he tried this in a course, most students answered #3.  He asked further questions of the students which items on the list they could do outside of class, which they would need help from their peers and the instructor on and how all of the items on the list would be best learned by the students.  In the end, the students began to recognize their responsibility to the class (and to themselves).  Smith has further refined the questions to re-word #3 to be “Developing skills to continue learning after you complete your program of study.”

Reference:  Smith, G. (2008).  First-day questions for the learner-centered classroom.  National Teaching & Learning Forum, 17 (5), p. 1- 4.

First day of classes

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.

Preparing to teach

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?