Monday, August 13, 2012
The Start of a New School Year!
by Dr. Vanae E. Morris
So, here we are again, at the start of a brand new school year. When we were children and young adults, this “start” may have had different meanings than they do now as an instructor; however, I think how we approach the new school year is just as important as when we were younger!
Do you approach a new school year with anticipation, dread, or a combination of the two? Are you excited about the new students you will have in your classes and the eagerness they may bring to the course? Have you designed your course, planned your lessons, and written you syllabus? Are you ready?
Well, for me, being “ready” is a vague term and so I prefer to be prepared with my course design, lesson plans, and syllabus, which does help me be more “ready” than not!
This past week, I was working with an instructor on a course that she had taught for several years using an asynchronous online environment and she was frustrated with the way the course was designed. Specifically, she was concerned about the number of assignments that the students were required to accomplishment in the 16 week semester, not to mention the time that it took her to grade all of those assignments.
My first step was to help her examine the objectives of the course and what it was exactly that she wanted her students to be able to do by the end of the semester. This is one of the first steps when you are designing or re-designing a course (there a few other steps before the objectives, but for her this was a good starting place). After we had reviewed the objectives, using measurable verbs for the successful outcomes, honing in on the assessments that would help her students meet the objectives became an easier process and she walked away with some strategies designed to help her students successfully accomplish the objectives of the course and to help save time for both students and instructor when doing and grading assignments.
How do you prepare for your courses as you approach a new school year? At the Center for Teaching & Learning at the University of Utah (CLTE), Higher Education Instructional Consultants can help you prepare for your courses whether you are teaching a new course or just need to breathe life into an old course.
You can also check out our Resource pages to help you with various teaching and instructional strategies!