Not only was it enlightening to hear what Dr. Limbach and Dr. Waugh had to say about Critical Thinking and Student Engagement, it was nice to be reminded that there are great teaching pedagogy resources on our own campus. Great minds, who are willing to assist, are just next door!
As you begin to plan for another great semester, consider using their handouts to refine your course learning outcomes and objectives. Taking some time to really think through this process pays off in the end. Don’t forget to include some activities requiring higher level thinking skills in your classes. Our students are capable of this level of thought – they might just need to be prompted!
I would also encourage you to look through the Planning for a Great Semester document that Elizabeth put together. It appears from your discussion in pairs and our group discussion that we all can identify things on that list that will improve our classes. You will find me arriving early to class to greet and talk with the students before class starts – I am going to have to watch some Netflix shows over the summer so that I am not so out of the loop!
After reenvisioning your course, be sure and present it to students in the syllabus. A syllabus serves several important purposes, the most basic of which is to communicate your course design (e.g. objectives, organization, policies, and expectations) to students. It’s important to set the tone for the class using the syllabus. We can have high expectations of students and still create a warm classroom climate.
The links provided on the Meeting #5 agenda are quite interesting – have a look at them for additional ideas for Planning for a Great Semester.
Although I think my current syllabus is an improvement over past versions, there is clearly still work to be done. However, if there is anything in the syllabus that you would like to utilize, feel free to adapt it for your use – then consider sharing it with the group, so we can all continue to provide optimal learning experiences for our students.