3 tips for teaching large classes

by Ilyoung Ju
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Ilyoung Ju

Ilyoung Ju

The number of large classes at universities has been increased due to the efficiency and the financial pressure of budget cuts from state legislatures. For this reason, it becomes important for instructors to have an ability to teach in a large class setting.

Teaching a large class can have several challenges:

  • Involving students in active learning.
  • Personalizing the class environment.
  • Working with diverse students’ needs and backgrounds.
  • Managing classroom disruptions.
  • Adapting one’s teaching style to the large lecture situation.

Here are some tips for being more successful in teaching a large class:
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8 technology tools college teachers can use

by Jieun Chung
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Jieun Chung

Jieun Chung

College teachers’ approach to teaching has changed due to the increase in technology tools available.

So, why do teachers use technology?

Technology can help demonstrate points and material in a more helpful way. Teachers can present their lectures in various ways. Also, technology encourages students to share their thoughts both during and outside class.

Students can access various contents by using technology, which promotes students’ opportunities to expand their knowledge, devote more focus to the course material, and experience increased motivation to actively learn.

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Grading rubric provides clarity for instructors and students

by Greenberry “Tripp” Taylor
Master’s student, University of Florida

Greenberry "Tripp" Taylor

Tripp Taylor’s teaching assistantship is working with undergraduates in the Innovation News Center.

Having a checklist usually makes things simpler and more efficient. For example, if you go to the grocery store with a list, chances are you can make it in-and-out quickly because you know exactly what you’re looking for.

This is a good way to think of a rubric – a very advanced, evaluative checklist used by instructors. Just like a grocery list, instructors can take time and think about what objectives they want an assignment to have. Having set expectations can help eliminate subjectivity, and also shave some time off the grading process.

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3 strategies for promoting discussion in college classes

by Huishan Wang
Master’s student, University of Florida

When I taught class in Mass Communication Teaching, we talked about the experience we’ve had with class discussions, the relationship between discussion and active learning, and the advantages and disadvantages of discussion.

To demonstrate one discussion strategy, I used an activity — the Fishbowl — to discuss more about the discussion teaching strategy.

Use Fishbowl strategy as way to encourage discussion

The class was divided into two groups. Three of the class were with me in the inner circle (the Fishbowl), and the others were in the outer circle. The inner circle participated in the discussion that I led, while the class members in the outer circle took notes based on the discussion, which included noting the discussion’s content, any problems or things are interesting to them, or any comment on this Fishbowl activity.

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7 tips for writing cover letters for faculty jobs

by Julie Dodd

Your letter of application (or cover letter) is a key part of the faculty job application process. The cover letter is how you introduce yourself to the search chair and the search committee. The letter should convey your interest (and enthusiasm) for the position and provide an overview of you, referring to your vitae and online portfolio where more information is provided.

Here are some general tips for writing a cover letter.

Tip #1 – Be sure to use the format for a business letter.

Because most of our communication is now done with email and social media, writing business letters is a new format for many who are applying for jobs. You can find many examples online. The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) provides tips for academic cover letters and a sample letter.

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4 ways teaching helped me be more effective in making a conference presentation

Arthur Leal
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Arthur Leal

Arthur Leal presents at the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists conference.

I had the opportunity to present at the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) conference this semester about a month after I started as lead lecturer for Research and Business Writing, an undergraduate course at the University of Florida.

I imagined my teaching experience helping me in better preparing to present at SAAS. My teaching experience did help me even though the audiences were quite different.

Presenting in front of undergraduate students is quite different than presenting in front of colleagues and faculty members. Nonetheless, I still managed to extend my classroom experience into my presentation at my conference and learn how the two overlapped.

To set the stage for my conference presentation, imagine an auditorium that seats about 100 people. The auditorium was a formal setting with a horseshoe-shaped arrangement. The lighting was slightly dimmed, and there was a podium and projector available for the presenter. There were approximately 30 plus individuals present for the presentation: faculty, staff, professionals and graduate students.

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Strategies for promoting cultural diversity in college classes

by Linwan Wu
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Linwan Wu

Linwan Wu

Cultural diversity in classroom involves two important aspects: one is to help international students adapt to American cultures, and the other one is to encourage all students to respect cultural diversity.

International students’ cultural-related problems:
(1) Social customs
(2) Language problems
(3) Culture shock

How to help international students in your courses:
(1) Help international students understand “culture is relative.”
(2) Encourage them to be open-minded.
(3) Ask them to use their communication skills.
(4) Encourage them to ask questions.
(5) Help them to find a cultural ally.

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