5 resources to help you be more effective in college teaching

by Julie Dodd

A major part of Mass Communication Teaching is having each class member teach class on a topic related to teaching, such as multiple-choice testing, learning styles, and incorporating discussion into class.

McKeachie's Teaching Tips provides great advice and strategies for planning your syllabus.Each of those teaching topics is a big issue, but each teaching presentation is only 30 minutes. So a key part of developing the lesson plan is determining what are the most important aspects of the topic to talk about.

Another key part teaching class is demonstrating what we’ve been reading about in “McKeachie’s Teaching Tips” and “What the Best College Teachers Do” – which is promoting active learning and not just lecturing.

Part of the process of developing a lesson plan is doing research on your teaching topic. Here are five resources:

1. Readings from class.

bain_ken_coverBoth “McKeachie’s Teaching Tips” and “What the Best College Teachers Do” include discussion of teaching strategies and also include citations to research on best practices in teaching.

2. Teaching at the University of Florida Handbook
The University of Florida’s Teaching Center provides a handbook that addresses dozens of teaching issues. You can download the PDF of the handbook and read the section that pertains to your teaching issue.

3. Teaching presentations by previous students in the course
The students in Mass Communication Teaching last fall made teaching presentations and then wrote a blog post on their topics with resources. Do a search of the blog with the key words of your teaching topic, such as “diversity in the classroom,” to see what resources were used. You can then add to information on the topic by writing a post on the topic after you teach.
University of Florida teaching heandbook

4. University of Florida programs and policies
The University of Florida provides institutional support on a number of teaching issues, including dealing with academic dishonesty and working with students with learning disabilities. Be sure to check what university resources, policies and procedures exist.

5. Resources available online
A strategic Google search can help you find dozens of helpful resources on your teaching topic.  Some of the materials you’ll find are on university teaching center websites.

As you are considering all the information you find about your teaching topic, your focus should be:

– What is most important for new teachers to know?
– What are best practices about my topic?
– What resources are available, including campus resources?
– How can I involve the class in at least one activity?

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