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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