Increasingly, accreditation agencies are advocating for deeper levels of mastery by our students that include cognition, application, and evaluation, as well as an ability to communicate in various ways.

I was struck by an article I was reading recently that reminded me of an assignment from graduate school. In essence, each student was to present a summary of a research article related to a chronic disease that was assigned. As I read the article related to exercise for people with type I diabetes, there were so many things that I had to look up (in a book…with pages), that I decided to integrate a lesson for the class on type I diabetes into my presentation. It went well because my preparation meant that I really understood what I was talking about. It went so well, in fact, that if I had to choose a moment in my education that cemented my plans to become a professor, that was it.

My recent read suggested that instead of having student groups give “presentations,” have them present an actual class lesson. For me, I truly learn it when I have to teach it, and I’m assuming that is true for our students as well. The beauty of structuring an assignment as a class lesson is that students can incorporate their prior professional and life experiences and their own creativity into the lesson. They can demonstrate to us how they learn best through how they teach their peers, and they can practice teamwork in an authentic environment.

The structure of the presentation will need to be clear and directive with support from the instructor since most students have probably not taught content before. It might look something like this:

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It’s week 6 so most of us have given at least one major assessment of our students…but have you given them an opportunity to assess YOU? If not, consider a midterm teaching evaluation. Here are some things to consider:

  1. This is a formative assessment. Midterm course evals are a fantastic way for you to glean meaningful feedback from your students on what is working, what isn’t, and what you could still do to help them learn better.
  2. This feedback can (and should) be qualitative as opposed to the mostly quantitative feedback that we receive on eSETs. If you’re like me, you probably skip right to the comments when reading your end-of-course feedback anyway.
  3. These evaluations are not part of your “official” evaluation record; an even better reason to get honest, constructive feedback from your students while you still have time to make changes.
  4. Midterm evaluations demonstrate to your students that you have their best interests in mind, that you are there to help them learn and that you are very interested in how you can do that better.
  5. Research shows that midterm evaluations actually improve end-of-term student evaluations when the feedback leads to changes in the class (McDonnell & Dodd, 2017). When we give students agency to affect change, they are more committed to their learning process.

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