A quick refresh of your teaching and assessment approaches can help bring you some clarity, and set you up for success in future teaching. You don’t need to do much, just make some time to reflect and write down notes to “future you.” Here are some of our tips for “Spring Cleaning” your teaching:

 

  1. Ask yourself some questions about your current assessments and make time to talk about the answers with your students.
    • Who is the audience? Are your students writing final papers just for you? Or are you hoping they’ll engage their classmates or the broader community? If students seem to be struggling to come up with ideas, or if you don’t have a good sense of where they stand prior to your final assignment, take a few moments of in-class time to talk about expectations for their work. Let them know what you expect if you are the ultimate audience. or how they can engage more broadly if you are not.
    • How is the grading process going? If you’ve already graded some major work, what are your thoughts so far? If you find yourself taking far more time to grade than you had anticipated, where can you revisit your approach before finals? Consider what feedback on their work students will use going forward, and what grading can be done with a minimal amount of individual feedback. Global feedback can be a great approach!
    • Are students struggling with an aspect of preparing for their final assignment? Whether it is trouble with finding appropriate sources, surface-level engagement with assigned readings, or submission of late work, you may want to consider forgoing a content-focused class session to give students “workshop time” where they can get a head start on their assignments or studying with you present and available for support or questions.
  2. Sketch out a multi-media assignment for next time that your students will really enjoy completing, and you’ll enjoy grading.
    • Now is also a good time to start thinking about assessment for next semester. It’s often possible to reimagine your current assessment into an alternative format, such as a podcast or research poster. While it may seem daunting to develop a new assignment, alternative assessments provide students with an opportunity to increase their digital literacy skills and demonstrate their knowledge to a new, often real-world, audience. The Library has developed assignment packages for podcasts, graphic design, and interactive timeline projects to help you get started. Librarians are also available to consult and help you design assignments to meet your course learning goals. 
    • On June 3, the Library is hosting a faculty workshop for designing podcast assignments. During this half-day workshop, attendees will begin to develop an assignment description, assessment rubric, and timeline for the project. They will also practice creating a podcast and learn how to record and edit audio using the free software Audacity. A stipend of $100 is available for instructors who attend the workshop, implement a podcast assignment in their course next year, and participate in follow-up discussions with the multimedia literacy librarian. Registration is limited to 10 and lunch will be provided. 
  3. Talk to your students about their study habits.
    • Consider including a short survey a day before an exam where you ask students what they did and did not use to study for their upcoming exams. For example, ask students if they took notes on the readings, re-watched lecture capture, or got together with a friend to study. Ask them what concepts they feel really confident about, and which concepts they aren’t too sure about.
    • Hold on to this data after the semester is over, and use it to critically evaluate your final exam as well as the readings and videos that students did (or didn’t!) make use of to prepare.
  4. Sign up for the next Innovative Teaching Strategies workshop
    • If you’re looking for ideas to freshen up your courses by incorporating new strategies or educational technology tools, join us for the Innovative Teaching Strategies workshop this June. This workshop includes asynchronous content presented in Canvas, giving participants the opportunity to act as students to experience various teaching strategies and technology tools. In addition, participants will collaborate with ATS instructional designers, instructors from departments across the university, and guest speakers during weekly, synchronous Zoom sessions.
    • We will explore UD supported technologies and methods for teaching – specifically, instructor presence, student engagement, assessment and multimedia. Participants will learn to apply instructional strategies and tools into their teaching practice in any modality.
    • Register now for this workshop which will run from June 6 to June 30, 2022
  5. Open your class to a friend.
    • With several semesters of teaching remotely, it has been a long time since we’ve all be able to learn together. Invite a colleague to observe a class session of yours and share some collegial feedback on what they enjoyed. Volunteer to visit their classes as well. Seeing a new subject presented, or a new teaching technique employed can often be just the spark you need to return to teaching with energy and enthusiasm.
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