Welcome, or welcome back, to another academic year at Grand View! The CETL staff is excited about the coming semester! (We’ll be even more excited when we make it through the week without any Blackboard issues *crosses fingers*.) As usual, faculty return to a campus where much has occurred in the months since we saw our graduates stride across the stage at Hy-Vee Hall. Continue reading “Aaaannnd….WE’RE OFF”
The first week of classes always throws me for a loop. No matter how prepared I think I am, by Wednesday my mental state is somewhere between “Who are these people” and “I can’t remember where I live.” Confused state aside, I do enjoy this week, though. It may sound corny, but I love the sense of possibility that always accompanies a new semester. For new students, it’s the opening a new chapter of their lives. For us, it’s the chance to try new things in the classroom, teach new material, or look at familiar content through the eyes of an unfamiliar group of students. As the semester gets busier, and the usual routine of meetings and other academic work sets in, I try to hold on to that sense of promise and uncertainty and remember that we have a great opportunity to effect real change in a society that desperately needs it.
For those of you new to the Grand View community, welcome. For the rest of you, welcome back. The CETL blog returns from a summer hiatus with a renewed zeal for teaching and learning, and at least once a week (usually on Fridays) a new post will try and share the love. We usually try to get you thinking about a teaching and learning topic, and share links to resources, thought-provoking work, and general silliness. Think of the blog as an extension of our work and mission in CETL: to support and affirm the work that all of you do with and among our students. If there’s any way we can be of service to you, don’t hesitate to ask. You can use the “Contact” link at the top of this page to reach out to CETL, or email Kevin or Karly.
Let’s make it a great year!
On to this week’s links:
Ever wonder if your students are really reading the syllabus? These professors did, and ran some creative experiments to see (Bonus: an actual ALF sighting).
“Getting students to understand what we are doing and why starts by recognizing that what’s obvious to us isn’t obvious to them.” Maryellen Weimer builds on this observation in a trenchant discussion of how important it is for us to communicate our methods and philosophy clearly with our students. This is especially pertinent as we try to get our students to take more ownership of their own learning–a process that can be novel and unsettling for many.
One of my favorite higher-ed bloggers is Terry Mcglynn, a biologist at Cal State–Dominguez Hills. His recent post on “What a Fake Turkey Sandwich Taught Me about Teaching” is great food for thought* on how we can develop a reflective practice with our teaching.
*see what I did there?
If you’re new or newish to the faculty world, I highly recommend Jennifer Burek Pierce’s thoughtful and empathetic “Notes to a New Faculty Member.”
Finally, if you haven’t yet received a full schedule of CETL Programming for the year, you can access it by clicking this link: 2016-2017 CETL Schedule.
Our first Conversations on Teaching workshop is ONE WEEK FROM MONDAY, EVERYBODY! On Monday, September 12, join us in the CETL (Rasmussen 208) from 4:00-5:00 PM for “Small Teaching, Big Changes.” We’ll use Jim Lang’s concept of “small teaching” that he shared with us at this past Summer Institute to examine ways we can make small adjustments to our classroom practice that can have a big effect on our teaching and student success. In this workshop, you’ll have the chance to learn some pedagogical tips and tricks that are both research-based and easy to implement. If you weren’t at the Summer Institute, no worries; we’ll get you up to speed in no time! As always, tasty refreshments will be served. Come join us for stimulating and collegial conversation!
Have a question? Need some help? Want to talk teaching and learning (and we approach this with the broadest possible definition)? Contact CETL here.
Did you know dogs could blow bubbles? I did not know dogs could blow bubbles, but I have since learned otherwise:
Here's a doggo blowing bubbles. It's downright legendary. 13/10 would watch on repeat forever (vid by Kent Duryee) pic.twitter.com/YcXgHfp1EC
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) June 4, 2016
In continuing the theme of “nudges” from Friday’s Teaching Tip, here is a “nudge” to help you clarify your synchronous online meeting expectations.
As a part of the digital age, we are more and more engaged in virtual classrooms and meetings as well as webinars. With new environments come new expectations (not to mention additional learning curves). I was recently a part of the virtual networking meeting that suggested there should be clarity in your expectations for online meetings. I couldn’t agree more! Here is an example of a statement aimed at participants to be included in your expectations: “If you drop from the meeting I expect you to email me immediately, let me know the situation, and try connecting again.” As a leader of a meeting, it is also important to have expectations should you unexpectedly disconnect. “If I, the leader, drop from the meeting, please remain a part of the meeting for 10 minutes. If I do not return by that time, please check your email for further instructions.” In addition, with a little tweaking, these clear expectations could be integrated into many sections of your syllabus and leave less to the world of the unknown.
Another semester is upon us! For our new faculty and staff colleagues, welcome! For the seasoned veterans, welcome back!
Also, welcome to the new blog for Grand View’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning! We’ll be posting regularly here; the weekly “Teaching Tips” newsletters will now be blog posts rather than PDF attachments, for example. We’ll also use this platform to connect you with resources and programming the CETL has to offer. We hope this space becomes destination reading for your academic journey, a place where thoughtful conversations on Teaching and Learning can flourish.
To perhaps get those conversations started, here are a couple of recent pieces that caught my eye:
- Stephanie Masson at Northwestern published an interesting essay on tardiness that goes beyond merely lamenting student behavior to ask good questions and come up with some good (albeit tentative) solutions to a chronic classroom issue.
- We’ve heard a lot of talk about “Growth Mindsets,” a concept articulated most notably in Carol Dweck’s recent bestselling book. But the concept has morphed into a “buzzword,” and that means there’s imprecise usage and potential for abuse, according to the Disappointed Idealist’s thoughtful examination of the concept and the pitfalls of supposedly easy solutions in the classroom.
Look for more links and CETL news on Friday, with this semester’s first Teaching Tips!
Have a great beginning to the semester!