7 steps for getting ready for the start of Mass Communication Teaching, Spring Semester 2014

by Julie Dodd

We’re getting ready to start a new semester at the University of Florida. Classes start on Monday, Jan. 6.

One great aspect about teaching is that, as the instructor, you have opportunities throughout the year to update and rethink how you do your job. Each semester offers that opportunity as you design the course syllabus — whether you are teaching a course for the first time or whether you are teaching a course that you’ve taught before.

Teaching a course like Mass Communication Teaching (MMC 6930) gives me the opportunity to use a combination of advance planning and of course development based on the students in the course each semester.

I’ve developed a course syllabus — mmc6930_syllabus_dodd_Sp2014_1 — but I also have built in flexibility to select topics and activities based on the class size and the students in the course.
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Students with Learning Disabilities: An Opportunity for Inclusive Pedagogy in College Classes

by Erica Newport
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

As a particular semester wrapped, I found myself in a final meeting with a student who was physically handicapped and who had multiple learning disabilities. We had journeyed together through my class, learning how to create the most from this learning and teaching experience.

Our society has grown rather fixated on measuring one’s impact. Oftentimes, people in my community outside of academe ask me if I feel my impact as a journalist was greater than that of Ph.D. student. Then there’s this reality, contributing to the “impact” conversation: Social media platforms offer instantaneous connection and some level of measurable outcome via analytics. As a teacher, I remind myself that each and every student is minimally an opportunity. But what about measurable impact, especially when a student is challenged in his or her learning due to emotional, mental, physical, and learning disabilities?

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Strategies for using technology effectively in the college classroom

by Naa Amponsah Dodoo
Ph.D. student, University of Florida

Teaching with technology is in and it’s in to stay.

Most if not all educational institutions have jumped on the use of technology in the classroom bandwagon with a passion in an effort to ensure that they are keeping up with the trend of incorporating technology into the classroom. Universities also want to take advantage of the benefits that technology is thought to achieve both for the instructors and the students

The phrase “Teaching with Technology” might evoke different views of technology use in education which could include the use of PowerPoint presentations, clickers, Skype for guest speakers, discussion boards, video and audio when appropriate to complement the lesson for the day, or the use of social media for assignments or topics.  My colleague Ginger Blackstone’s blog Lectures come alive: Using technology effectively in the classroom provides great resources for different technologies that can be used in and out of the classroom that takes the teaching and learning experience to another step.

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Tips for designing experiential learning and studio teaching

by Gary Green
Master’s student, University of Florida

As teachers, we are all competing with unlimited distractions to keep and hold our students’ attention. One way to accomplish this is to create a learning environment that physically, mentally, and emotionally engages the students.

Many universities are looking to employ these strategies, particularly in their journalism schools as the University of Florida is doing with the Innovation News Center or Arizona State is doing with the News21 laboratory. However, journalism isn’t the only discipline that can benefit from experiential teaching methods.

McKeachie’s Teaching Tips (Marilla Svinicki & Wilbert J. McKeachie, 2014) says that if you want students to transfer knowledge into the real world, it helps if the learning takes place in a real world environment.

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