Adjusting your teaching outlook for classes during Thanksgiving week

by Julie Dodd

Jeanine Capo Crucet NYT commentaryIf you’re a college faculty member, adjunct faculty or teaching assistant, I’d encourage you to read Jennine Capó Crucet’s New York Times commentary about the challenges that Thanksgiving presents for First Generation college students  – How First-Generation College Students Do Thanksgiving Break

Her commentary made me think about adjustments I’d made in my syllabus and teaching outlook during the week of Thanksgiving.

Some students will be in class because they don’t have other options. These students can’t afford to travel home for Thanksgiving and, in some cases, need to stay in town to work. They often are annoyed when their classes are canceled during Thanksgiving week when the university still is open and classes are being held.

Other students, as Crucet noted in her commentary, can only afford to travel home if they book flights for several days before Thanksgiving. So those students will miss class during Thanksgiving week.

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Strategies for online college course development

by Julie Dodd

Teaching online continues to grow as an integral part of college curriculum.

Rob Marino recording lecture

Rob Marino records a video lecture for Writing for Mass Communication. Mario recorded the lectures in the University of Florida’s Center for Instructional Technology and Training.

Almost every college instructor uses some online element even in face-to-face classes. Instructors use course management systems (CMS) to send announcements to their students or to collect and return graded assignments.

Some courses are hybrid or blended, with instructors using online components to replace what would have been conducted in class – giving quizzes or having students work with a partner or team online.

Virtual office hours can be held in an online chat room, giving students the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback without having to deal with all the logistics involved in going to campus for face-to-face office hours.

If you talk with undergraduate students, many will report having taken at least one completely online course. According to Babson Survey Research Group’s “Online Report Card: Tracking online education in the Unites States,” about 5.8 million college students were taking at least one online course during fall semester 2014, and the number continues to increase.

Rob Marino and I met to talk about our experiences in teaching online. Marino has been teachng online courses at College of Central Florida since 2013 and at the University of Florida for two years. In addition to his class teaching, Marino is the adviser of Patriot Press, the CFC newspaper.  Marino was selected as the 2017 Distinguished 2-year Newspaper Adviser by the College Media Association.

I developed the online version of Multimedia Writing for the University of Florida online degree in Public Relations. I had taught face-to-face for a number of years. I received the Online Excellence Education Award for “Instructional Design” in 2017.

I aked Marino to talk about his four years of teaching online courses.

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Eliminate (or at least reduce the number of) discipline problems by realizing issue behind the behavior and empathizing

by Julie Dodd

NYT image by Aidan Koch“How do you deal with discipline problems?”

That was a question I was asked when I led a session at the University of Florida’s orientation for new teaching assistants.

That’s not a question that is limited to new instructors. Those of us who are experienced teachers deal with discipline problems, too.

One of the keys to dealing with discipline problems is trying to prevent those problems in the first place.

That’s what drew me to David Kirp’s New York Times article “Don’t Suspend Students. Empathize.” The article deals with student disclipline at the K-12 level, but the heart of the issue is relevant in higher ed, too. Continue reading

Orientation for new teaching assistants at UF – tips for success

UF Orientation for New Teaching Assistants

Here’s the view from the back of Carlton Auditorium during a panel presentation about how to deal with challenging student situations.

by Julie Dodd

Julie Dodd speaking at UF Orientation for New Teaching Assistants

I enjoy helping new teaching assistants be prepared for a good start of their teaching at UF. Photo by Michael Hanna

There’s lots to consider when you’re a new teaching assistant.

That was the take-away for the more than 350 teaching assistants who attended the day-long orientation for new teaching assistants at the University of Florida.

That was a take-away for me, too, as a presenter — as I planned what to share with the new TAs in my talk and also as I listened to the questions the TAs asked during my session and the other orientation sessions I attended.

I talked about developing a checklist of what needs to be accomplished before school starts next week, from meeting with their teaching supervisor to reviewing their online persona/avatar to the classroom where they will be teaching and try out the technology.

I also explained what I’ve coined as the COPE Strategies that can help teachers develop a more student-oriented approach to their teaching.

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4 teaching strategies for college instructors — context, optimism, preparation and engagement

by Julie Dodd

auditorium class

COPE Strategies can help teachers as they begin new academic year.

The start of the school year provides the opportunity for teachers and students to consider the big picture of teaching and learning before getting caught up in the week-by-week view of readings, quizzes and assignments.

Scott Newstok’s “How to Think Like Shakespeare” offers a call to action for the Class of 2020 (and for all college students) to take advantage of the learning enterprise to realize the value of gaining knowledge, to engage in critical thinking, and to seek collaborative environments.

Newstok’s essay, although directed at college students, provides a model for college teachers of how to take lofty student learning outcomes and design classes and assignments to enable students to reach those outcomes.

In speaking at the orientation for new teaching assistants at the University of Florida, I wanted to help those 350+ new instructors consider some big concepts that could help them develop their teaching outlook.

I talked with them about what I call the COPE Strategies to help develop a teaching approach.

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Tips from TAs for being successful new teachers

by Julie Dodd

ta-orientation-2016Three teaching assistants who were winners of UF’s Graduate Student Teaching Awards offered teaching advice at the UF TA Orientation.

William Hedderson – Applied Physiology & Kinesiology
Will discussed two topics that I discussed and so did Carla and Michael — promoting active learning and learning students’ names. Teaching doesn’t mean that you need to be lecturing for the full time. Plan class to get students involved and talking with each other. After spending his first semester of teaching learning very few student names, Will made a real effort to learn names, and that made a big difference in his interaction with his students.

Carla Strickland-Hughes – Psychology
Carla talked about how to organize a lecture or presentation, including providing the students an overview at the start of class to help them know their objectives for the class. Other tips included making presentation slides easy to read and helpful with large point size (at least 24 point), relevant images, and not too many words. She recommended building in student activities about every 15 minutes to keep the students engaged. Having a supplemental textbook provides you, as the instructor, additional examples to use in class.

Michael Polo – Music
Michael told the story of how his teaching assignment was the one music area he had most disliked as a student himself — live singing. But he prepared to take on the challenge of teaching a course he had dreaded and wound up being very successful with his students. The take-away — You won’t always be assigned to classes that you enjoyed as a student, but you can become a very effective instructor … if you make the effort.

 

Positive start to your teaching — my advice at UF TA Orientation 2016

UF TA Orientation 2016

I presented a session to more than 400 graduate students who attended the New Teaching Assistant Orientation at the University of Florida. Photo by Bobbi Carpenter

by Julie Dodd

UF TA Orientation 2016

I encouraged the TAs to make the most of their time this week to prepare for the start on classes next wee. Photo by Keir Hamilton

Welcome to the new teaching assistants at the University of Florida. (And welcome to all of you who are new to teaching this semester.)

I appreciated the UF Graduate School and UF Teaching Center inviting me to be on the program for the UF TA Orientation — speaking on “A Positive Start to Your Teaching: Your Syllabus and the First Week of Classes.”

Thanks to the more than 400 teaching assistants in my session for their attention, their involvement, and their questions.

I hope the new TAs will take advantage of the optional sessions being offered:

  • “Teaching for Teaching in UF Classrooms” – Aug. 18, 10 a.m. to noon, Turlington L005
  • “International TAs in UF Classrooms” – Aug. 18, 2 to 4 p.m., Turlington L005
  • “e-Learning@UF: Getting Started, Intermediate & Advanced” – Aug. 19, HUB 221

You can follow me on Twitter – @profdodd