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Tip #1: Learn names. Jonathan Leonard (CDAE) makes the effort to learn every student’s name, even in classes with over 150 students! What’s his strategy? On the class roster page he displays the students’ photos and, while studying each face, he speaks their names aloud. Over and over. And over. Occasionally he shifts the page arrangement—by changing the row settings to, for instance, three across instead of five—and he keeps testing himself. He admits that it takes several practice sessions, but he claims the effort is well worth it. Students are astonished when he greets them by first name! A large class it may be, but an indistinct mass of anonymous faces it is not. Individuals are being recognized and this, he says, changes the whole game.
(By the way, Jonathan isn’t the only one to stress the value of learning names. Every year when the CTL holds a panel discussion with the latest winners of the Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award, at least one of the panelists mentions that this practice is vital to their teaching style.)
Tip #2: Get students talking. Sheila Boland-Chira (English) recommends the turn and talk method in any class, but particularly on the first day when anxiety may be running a little high. She asks an evocative question related to the course topic and invites students to turn to their neighbors and talk about it. After a few minutes, she invites volunteers to share their thoughts with the whole group. Not only does the lively buzz change the atmosphere in the room, doing this on the first day lets students know that the class is participatory and that they are going to be challenged to think.
Tip #3 Make personal connections. Char Merhtens (Geology) asks students to come to her office and meet with her individually during the first week or two of the semester, just to say hi and chat for a few minutes. However, because there are 200+ students in one of her classes, visiting with everyone isn’t practicable, so she invites only the first-years and seniors, the two groups she feels would most benefit from this (although, for completely different reasons). Char says that this simple social gesture has paid off in countless ways and many students go out of their way to thank her.
Tip #4: It’s standard practice to review the syllabus on the first day of class, but a few faculty offered tips to make this ritual more meaningful:
- Before the first class meets, contemplate your schedule again and identify the overarching themes. When you review the syllabus on the first day, share this 10,000-foot view with your students and talk about how the key themes are woven throughout the schedule. This overview provides not only a conceptual map of the course, but a rationale for the work you are going to be asking them to do.
- Make the syllabus review more engaging by including interesting visual elements, e.g., drawings, concept maps, or a humorous cartoon. Consider playing music.
- Use Blackboard’s test tool to create a short quiz about the syllabus with multiple-choice type questions (so Blackboard will do the grading for you) and make it a mandatory assignment by the second day of class. Doing this gets them to delve deeper into the syllabus and you can review the stats in Blackboard before the next class, so you can touch upon any murky areas.
Tip #5: Finally, convey enthusiasm! J. Dickinson (Anthropology) offered what might be the most important tip for the first class and every class: that it’s crucial to communicate your excitement about what you teach. Even if you’re not teaching your dream course, you should be able to muster enthusiasm for it. Foundational or introductory-level courses are exciting when you consider the potential for learning and that you just may spark an interest that has a formative effect on someone’s life. Genuine enthusiasm can be infectious.
Disability Awareness Month: ACCESS Office Open House
Friday, October 28, 2:00-4:00 pm
A-170 Living Learning Center
ACCESS will host an open house (drop-in) for faculty and staff. The director, specialists and other ACCESS support staff will be available to have sit down, individualized meetings or informal chats about our topics such as services, instructional implementation and accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Higher Education, and working with students with disabilities. Light refreshments will be available.—
For more information call 656-7753
My conference event this year found me in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the “City of Lakes”, for the MERLOT International Conference (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching). Serving as a multimedia developer for the Center for Teaching & Learning I felt right at home amongst my peers. On the menu this year at MERLOT was WEB 2.0 technologies, collaborative online tools (blogs, wikis), digital archives and the hot-topic of the year, online 3D communities as educational spaces.
The conference, which began August 7th and ran through August 10th was attended by faculty and instructional design staff from across the US and North America, as well as many international attendees. Having only attended a few conferences in my life and MERLOT being the biggest and the first professional conference I left the Green Mountain State to attend, I was almost shocked by how friendly the other attendees were, I was delighted to discover that my greatest learning tools were not as much the materials being taught at the conference, but the attendees and presenters I interacted with. The conversations that occurred after and between sessions were often just as informative as the actual instructional sessions.
However there were several sessions that I attended that I found of particular interest, one such session, Understanding Web 2.0 Technologies: Using Wikis, Blogs & Podcasting which was presented by Cris Guenter (California State University, Chico) stuck with me through the entire conference. The workshop focused on introducing various types of WEB 2.0 collaborative tools to the audience and giving everyone an opportunity to try for them. In my personal situation most of the tools Dr. Guenter introduced to were ones we are currently running workshops on at UVM, the value of the session for me came from learning how Dr. Guenter chose to instruct her audience. Her particular emphasis on “mash-ups” was exceptional, essentially tools on the web that incorporate data from more than one location into a single integrated tool; an example would be del.icio.us, a social bookmaking tool, combining social networking with bookmaking links.
In addition to hosting the conference, the MERLOT organization itself is an excellent repository for educational resources. I would suggest checking out their site to see what materials are available for use!
Many of the lectures from MERLOT 2007 have also been posted to the website so that those that didn’t have an opportunity to attend a lecture can still benefit from them. I would be more than happy to discuss MERLOT and their academic offerings, feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me during my Doctor is In Shift in BHL 303, every Tuesday from 12:30 – 3:00.
Center for Teaching and Learning
We hope you have enjoyed participating in our workshop today. iMovie is one of our favorite software packages to learn. Below we have included a list of for the workshop for Educational Value as well as general How To’s. Feel free to suggest additional resources to add to this blog posting. We hope you had fun and learned a lot today.
Click Here to take survey
Paul Martin’s iMovie about Podcasting for YOU!
iMovie in education
Apple iMovie HD Resource Page
Hot Tips for imovie hd from i life 06
keyboard shortcuts for iMovie HD
Digital Storytelling in the classroom with imovie
iMovies in K-12 Education from Springfield Public Schools
Example iMovies from K-12 Education
Apple Learning Interchange
November 2nd, 2007
Here is a collection of resources both used in today’s class as well as additional resources
Flickr: Search on “Vermont” under creative commons license
Flickr search results
In addition to the resources we have discussed today in our audio editing workshop, I have created this post with links to resources that we have collected that have helped us in the past with audio editing and podcasting. This is a mixture of articles, how to’s and ways to use podcasts in education. We hope you find these links useful.