Pre-semester Teaching Tips

Dear Faculty,

As you prepare for next semester, we wanted to share some resources with you.  We have sent many of these before the start of fall, but there are also some additions.  

(1) The official 2014-2015 Academic Calendar.  This is available on the Shared Drive (All –> Academic Calendar) and is more accurate than the Academic Calendar on the MCTC web site (which is intended for students).  The Academic Calendar is set through Faculty Governance Council; if you would like to propose changes or make suggestions for future calendars, attend MSCF meetings or contact MCSF leadership (this year’s President is Darren Wieland).

Spring professional-development days include Thursday, February 26th (also Student Success Day); Friday, February 27th(an all-college day); Friday, May 15th, and Monday, May 18th.  Please arrange your schedules to be able to join us for programming on these days in a collective effort to improve the learning experience for our students.

(2) Consider including incentives for students using campus resources such as attending Student Success Day or the Always Lost: A Meditation on War (see Week 16 Teaching Tips for assignment ideas).  For example, you could have a “campus activity” assignment where they earn points for attending and reflecting on a session during Student Success Day, a club meeting, going to the Learning Center, an office hour, a campus play, etc. 

(3) Submit your course syllabi to Academic Affairs for any course you are teaching this fall. Academic Affairs keeps course syllabi to assist students in need of further documentation in order to transfer their credits to an outside college or university. Please send an electronic copy of your syllabi to academicaffairs@minneapolis.edu.

(4) Syllabus Checklist.  As you improve your syllabus for the upcoming year, include all of the items in the first checklist and consider including items from the checklist starting on page 2 to make your syllabus more student centered.  Also consider changing your language from “the student” and “the instructor” to “you” and “I” as research shows this improves students’ perceptions of faculty – a pretty simple change to make.

(5) An article entitled “Using Your Syllabus as a Learning Resource” might be helpful:http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/using-syllabus-learning-resource/?ET=facultyfocus:e48:300590a:&st=email

(6) The CTL has been highlighting three overlapping summaries focused on improving student learning.  Do your classes address each of these components?

(7) If you are working to improve or develop a course or taking a course through the Academic Affairs and Standards Committee (AASC)/Academic Council this year, check out the following resources:

(8) To design your classes to encourage academic honesty, this article has some helpful ideas (the article is focused on online classes but has ideas for any class): https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eqm0348.pdf 

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