Welcome back…..thinking about next semester? Strategies for tracking adjustments to your class

Was your first week of teaching just what you had planned? Or are there already changes that you would like to make next time you teach the course? One of the common questions that CELT staff receives is, “how do I keep track of changes that I want to make for next term?” There are several low-resource (read: low time!) strategies that you can employ to help you keep track of the adjustments that you would like to make.

A professor in the College of Human Sciences spends the last 2 minutes of each class session opening the course syllabus and reviewing with the students the topics discussed on that day and looking forward to the next class session. This closing activity reminds the students that the syllabus is the place to go for course information and helps the students visually see the semester’s progress. After students leave the classroom, the instructor keeps the syllabus open on her laptop and makes notes about the length of time activities took, new questions that students asked, and notes of possible areas that need to be expanded or minimized the next semester.

A collaborative approach is taken by a professor teaching a multi-section, laboratory course in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. At their weekly course meeting, the professor and laboratory and section teaching assistants take 5-10 minutes to update a CyBox note that lists the date and subject of each week’s class session. Working together, they keep note of topics that seemed difficult for students to grasp, track activities that worked extremely well, and generally debrief the speed and pace of the semester.

In the College of Business, an assistant professor has begun utilizing “one-minute papers” after his lectures. At the very end of each class session the students respond to a question such as: “what new information did you learn in today’s class session?” or “what did you find most confusing in today’s lecture,” or “how does today’s material relate to a previous course, job, or work experience?” Following class he prepares for the next class session by summarizing these one-minute responses and includes them as a slide on the next day’s lesson. Sharing these reflections with students offers a nice review of the previous day’s content, but also provides a written summary of student interest (or confusion) to be addressed for the next time he teaches the course.

Whether it is individual or group reflection, instructor alone or informed by student feedback, thinking about what went well and what could be changed during our class time with students is invaluable.

Be sure to check out the CELT listing of events website and sign up today via Learn@ISU for a program that can help inform your teaching practice.

Best wishes,
Sara Marcketti
Director, CELT

Full Teaching Tip

View the published CELT Teaching Tip: Welcome back…..thinking about next semester? Strategies for tracking adjustments to your class (August 23, 2018 – Constant Contact) website.

Prefer a Print version?

To view the Teaching Tip as a printable document with web addresses, download the CELT Teaching Tip August 23 (PDF)