Welcome to the midpoint of summer session!
How do I let students know how they are doing? Now is an excellent time to check in with students about their progress. If possible, check in with every student in person, or with a personalized note. During the first day of class, I have students write down a SMART goal (including possible barriers and strategies for overcoming barriers). I use my mid-semester check in to revisit those goals with the students. I also remind students that their progress is a reflection of the work they are doing in the course, not of them personally, and we discuss strategies for how to finish the course successfully.
Here are some tips to help students prepare for tests or assignments, including some easy strategies to break up your lectures and engage students in the material and with each other.
How can I help students prepare for the first test of assignment?
- Break up your lecture by having students complete a 1-minute paper to
- identify main themes in the class so far
- ask questions they have about the upcoming assignment
- write about the “muddiest” point (in other words, what was most unclear to them in the class; take this a step further by asking which strategies they are going to use to clarify this before the test or assignment)
- Have students complete a pre-assignment or pre-quiz in class or at home. Often, students do not do well because they misjudge how long an assignment or studying will take. If you have students completing a project or paper, have them turn first turn in short assignments such as a resource list, thesis statement, draft, etc.
- Direct students to the Assignment Planner on the MCTC library web site which includes links to great resources for completing and scheduling steps for the assignment.
- Rather than providing a study guide for students, have students make a study guide. This might be an assignment they complete outside of class and turn in or something they work in groups to create within class. Have students share these with one another in class or by posting within D2L so they can see other ways to study and approach the material. Early in the course, you might provide more direction such as main themes or a worksheet then provide less assistance as the class progresses.
- Have students write sample exam questions then post in the D2L Discussions (or share in class) so other students can use these as practice questions. You could also use some of these on your tests to help decrease your work.
Do you want to go back to something in a previous Teaching Tips? All of these are archived on our website through the News link, and the link is always in our email signature line.
Do you wonder which services Public Safety offers for faculty? See safetytipsCTL.
Do you want new ways to check in with your students? Include a short writing assignment asking them one or more of the following.
- What is most unclear so far in the class, and how do you plan to clarify it before the next test/assignment?
- How do you plan to study for the next test? OR What is your plan to complete the first assignment/paper?
- How was the first test similar or different than you expected?
- Which study strategies have been most effective so far?
- How do you plan to improve your score on the next assignment/test?
- What is keeping you from performing as you had hoped in this class? Which strategies can you use to overcome this or future barriers?
- How many hours do you spend on this class each week? Do you think this is too much or too little time? Why or why not?
Do you want more resources? The latest issue of the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching is available through MCTC’s journal subscriptions here.
How can I get relevant, confidential and timely feedback on my teaching? Request a 5&5 Assessment! For more information, or to place your request, please contact: email@example.com by no later than Friday, July 10th. Due to reduced Summer CTL credits, availability is limited.
What are upcoming faculty-development opportunities? Check the Events page of the CTL website.
How can I learn more about using D2L in my classes? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I get help with teaching or other parts of my teaching role? Email email@example.com
If you have ideas for future Teaching Tips or would like to write a guest blog post for the CTL blog, please contact Jennifer.Sippel@minneapolis.edu Thanks!