One reason I was attracted to academia was the variability in schedule; Keeping busy by ever-changing topics, revolving classes throughout the year, and guiding students through novel information.

All of this results in an occupied mind (and I need A LOT of “channels” to occupy my mind).

What ceases to amaze me is the deluge of information and activity that accompanies each term. In the ancient past (last term) the busy builds to a crescendo and we long for the sweet release of the inter-term break… Just to be shot out of the cannon into the next.

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When developing a new course there are many different components that we must piece together, from writing lectures and filming videos to conjuring homework assignments and debugging exam questions. Self-check exercises are an important tool for student retention that can be easily overlooked in the tedious process of new course development.

Benefits for Students

The benefits of self-check opportunities for students are numerous. These exercises can be given in small quantities in a low pressure environment. This makes it easier for students to initially engage with new material as opposed to, for example, procrastinating an ominous heavily-weighted homework assignment.

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Triads – More Than Just a Chinese Organized Crime Syndicate

By Kyle Webb

The Teaching Excellence Committee will again be organizing Teaching Triads this winter term, and we hope that many of you will consider participating. You will receive more information about getting involved later this term. Until then, here is a preview of the Teaching Triads:

What:

Teaching Triads are groups of three faculty (though it could just as well be two or four) who observe each other’s teaching throughout the term, provide each other feedback, and engage in discussions about teaching. The Teaching Triads and PROT processes are similar, but differ in two important ways. Continue reading

Ok, everyone, raise your hand if you have your hands full. (get it? …sorry)

We are all jugglers in life; trying to keep a number of things in the air without letting them drop, but never having enough hands to guide each thing through its entire journey. We decide when an item needs our attention and which we can let fly for a little longer. Hopefully, the time you do get with each will set it up for a long, true flight and not need your constant support and guidance.

Just like the expert jugglers, our tasks aren’t all created equal, and that medicine ball that’s in the mix is always taking more time to control than we want. So what can we do? Not to wax nihilistic, but Sisyphus may suggest to sing “Don’t worry, Be happy” by Bobby McFerrin. OR, we could take a more comfortable, controlling approach to how we handle these tasks. Continue reading

I was heartened to read a recent article published in The Teaching Professor written by OSU’s psychology professor, Regan Gurung, reflecting on what he has learned while teaching during a pandemic that has made him a better teacher.

He states, “Personally, my Emergency Remote Teaching has given way to Temporary Remote Teaching en route to Effective Blending Learning.” He reflects on his attempts to simply “keep the lights on” that resulted in Frankencourses (as Cub Kahn likes to call them), or courses that did neither synchronous nor asynchronous particularly well, and often lead to much more work for the students.

Now several weeks in, Dr. Gurung has found effective ways to build community using technology and no longer uses the term online “lectures” but rather online “classes” that take the face-to-face experience and translates it into shared experiences through screens. Continue reading