Teaching Tips for Week 1


Welcome to the start of fall semester.  Let the games begin!  This email will address some questions asked in various forms during Opening Days related to the start of the semester.

How can I easily improve my classes for fall?  During the all-faculty session, we shared the First4Weeks document with 26 Strategies for Success in Your Classroom.  As noted in the document, we encourage you to select 4 strategies to carry out in your classes during the first 4 weeks.

How much time should we spend on the syllabus during the first day of class?  The syllabus is an important document that addresses essentials of the class.  Our advice is to engage students in classroom activities to learn about your course policies.  Examples of activities include a(n)

  • syllabus scavenger hunt (for example, a worksheet with scenarios to help students find important policies)
  • syllabus quiz (consider also using one around the time of your first major assignment or test to help re-enforce policies related to these and other issues that have come up)
  • jigsaw discussion (for example, assign groups of students to different pages of the syllabus then have them share what they learned; to learn more about jigsaws, go to http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/jigsaws/index.html)
  • activity to have students create a list of what they want to know about the syllabus or your course (then have students find the answers)
  • think-pair-share where students ask each other “what questions do you have about the syllabus?” (students are often more likely to ask a peer questions than asking the instructor in front of the whole class; phrasing the question this way can communicate that you expect them to have questions)

What is the best piece of advice you can give about the first days of class?  Engage your students starting on day one.  This will help to create community and show students the types of interactions and activities that will take place in your class.  The syllabus activities listed above could help.  Many more ideas for the first weeks of class are in the following resources:

101 Things You Can Do the First Three Weeks of Class




When and where can I join Jennifer Mason for more activities like those during the all-faculty session?  Atma Jyotih Sangha will be Thursdays, 12:45-1:15 pm in B.Dance (in Bollman Hall).

Where can I get more mindset resources?  Look for these in a Teaching Tips email in the next few weeks.  This will include links to the video shown during the all-faculty session in addition to resources shared by others.

What are the registration procedures for this semester?  See emails from Jeanne Maanum on 8/21 (prereq screening form), 8/19 (Records Office reminders), and 8/13 (new late registration form).

Where do I submit my syllabus? academicaffairs@minneapolis.edu  For more information, see the 8/22 email from Academic Affairs.

How can I learn about D2L changes?  See the 8/12 email from Tim Kochery or the first page you see after logging into D2L.  Contact DRL@minneapolis.com for D2L or instructional design help.

What are upcoming faculty-development opportunities?  Watch for lists at the end of each Teaching Tips emails and other emails from the CTL.

Where can I get help with teaching or other parts of my teaching role?  Contact us through the CTL email or individually by email or phone.

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