We hope you are having a good break and staying warm. Below, we offer many suggestions for course improvement as the semester starts. As always, feel free to contact us for more information. Good luck finishing up your preparations and in your first week of classes.
What are important faculty-development dates for spring semester?
- Thursday, February 26 is Student Success Day. Consider adding incentives for student participation into your classes.
- Friday, February 17 is an all-college professional-development day.
- Friday, May 15 is a professional-development day.
- Monday, May 18 is a professional-development day and a Quality Matters workshop at MCTC (see below)
How can I address recent police shootings in my class?
- Check out the resources from Socialists for Justice in this link http://sociologistsforjustice.org/ferguson-syllabus/ or this one http://sociology.about.com/od/Current-Events-in-Sociological-Context/fl/The-Ferguson-Syllabus.htm. See this second link for articles on topics such as a description of systemic racism, a review of racial profiling, and the difference between prejudice and racism. Thank you to Whitney Harris for suggesting these resources.
- See page two of this link for a message the Education Minnesota President about engaging students in social justice conversations: http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=239997
- See page two of this link for an example of using Twitter for a lesson on injustice:http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=239997
What are the most important things to do on the first days of class?
- Engage your students starting on day one. This will help to create community, show students the types of interactions and activities that will take place in your class, and help students practice learning strategies.
- Have students exchange contact information with at least one other student.
- Use interactive strategies to address the syllabus – see activities listed below.
- Have students write about expectations, barriers, strategies for overcoming barriers, and the like. Then, collect, read, and comment on these.
- Pick one strategy in each category in this link (also attached):http://www.stlcc.edu/Document_Library/ATD/26_Strategies_for_Success_in_Your_Classroom.pdf
What are creative ways to address the syllabus during the first day of class? The syllabus is an important document that addresses essentials of the class (see the syllabus checklist in our pre-semester teaching tips email – or reply to get another copy). 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
Where do I submit my syllabus? firstname.lastname@example.org For more information, see the email from Academic Affairs.
How can I learn more about using D2L in my classes? Contact DRL@minneapolis.com.