Here are a handful of strategies that we recommend to professors to get your courses off to a solid start. By following these strategies, professors are able to set up their class to more effective and successful.
1. Assess student knowledge of the course topic.
- You don't need to give a multiple choice exam. A quick (2 minute) in-class assessment strategy will do.
- You can re-assess student knowledge quickly during the semester in order to guide your daily lesson plans.
2. Develop a fail proof syllabus.
- Your syllabus is a contract between the student and instructor.
- List clear objectives, expectations, and limits.
- Make sure the text is visually organized by using grids/ graphs, bullet points, clear headings, etc.
- Be concise.
- Don't waste precious in-class time reading the syllabus to students.
- Do develop a D2L quiz about the syllabus due the first day of your second week of class (when student schedules settle).
3. Incorporate an even mix of lecture, discussion and in-class activity daily.
- Students take in information differently from one another, so provide an opportunity for all students to interact with your material in meaningful, authentic ways.
- Classes that have the highest visual and kinesthetic appeal generally result in higher student performance.
4. Harvest college students' social skills to meet your class objectives.
- College students are at an extremely social developmental age.
- Allowing students to discuss questions aloud, and report results as a group builds their feeling of investment in your course.
- Don't be afraid to mix up groups.
5. Remember that the best students are not always students with a perfect GPA.
- We are in an age where there are more non-traditional college students than ever.
- A student may have a less than perfect GPA as the result of several different factors (work, family, returning to school after many years away, etc.)
- These students are often highly responsible and willing to take on additonal projects-- study groups, office hours, community activites, etc.
- Find a way to incorporate their talents into your class objectives (start slow). They can certainly enrich your course, and increase student interest and learning with minimal time and energy on your part.