Tag Archives: teaching strategies

Mid-Course: Check Your Progress

Our Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) can be very helpful in providing feedback.  However, these surveys are only administered at the end of the semester, much too late to assist the current students.  Also specific feedback on assignments, organization or anything else often gets lost in the sands of time if the course is not one that you teach on a regular basis.  So what is a Prof to do?

Self-reflection is a powerful tool used to improve ourselves personally and professionally.

October brings with it pumpkins, a possible frost and Midterms.  While students begin to sweat under pressure of tests, midterms are also a good time to take stock of your own progress.  Creating a midterm evaluation for both you and your students is great way to make sure you are hitting your mark, plus it gives you enough time to tweak things if you need to.  We find that students are much more candid when writing informal evaluations; they also appreciate your willingness to make accommodations.

Here are some ideas for evaluating your own teaching:


Keep a log, checklist, or list of goals for each lesson and at the end of class note whether you have met those stated goals.  Self-monitoring requires self-judgment and the difficult part is to let go of your ego.  Biases and misinterpretations of students’ reaction by the instructors themselves could interfere with objectivity of the evaluation. Even with these hurdles, there is great value in documenting your goals and getting in the routine of reflecting on achieving them.

Audio and Visual Recording

The camera may add ten pounds, but it also captures exactly what you said and how.  It is much easier to monitor others and notice their fumbles and foibles but is much more difficult to monitor yourself, especially when you are devoting most of your attention to explaining content, helping students and keeping the class engaged.   It might be a good idea to schedule recordings at the beginning middle and end of the semester to check your progress.  The CTL can help you with this.  We now have lecture capture availability or we can do a standard video taping.

Questionnaires/ Surveys

You can create your own survey to hand out in class.  A few simple questions go a long way.  If you are web-enhanced, you can use ANGEL surveys and results can be sent anonymously. Another way is to use TurningPoint (our “Clicker” system) to take a quick poll.  Don’t worry, results can be saved on TurningPoint and viewed later after class

Peer Feedback

Invite your colleagues to view your video, or sit in on your lecture.  Or ask to sit in on another colleague’s lecture.  What kind of assignments do they give, how do they explain the same topic? Ask them what kind of course evaluation questions do they give their students?   Why reinvent the wheel?

How do you obtain informal feedback throughout the semester? Do you use any of the techniques above or do you use a different technique that works better for you?

Cheaters CAUGHT!

“I don’t want to be the one to explain to your parents why you aren’t going to graduate.”

We’ve talked about cheating before. What would you do, if you caught your students cheating? That is a difficult question to answer, and one professor in Florida tackled the issue head-on in his class. Thank you, Deb, for sharing this controversial story with us! Be warned — watching the video may trigger flashbacks and make you feel guilty all over again for cheating on that chemistry test in the 9th grade (or maybe that was just me)!

Perhaps you’ve heard about the recent large-scale cheating incident at the University of Central Florida – it’s caused quite a stir in “all things academe.” UCF Professor Richard Quinn was suspicious of the unusually high grades he received on a mid-term exam in his senior-level business management capstone course, so he ran a statistical analysis of student grades… Continue reading

Cheating is easy!

We are all educators here, which, by rule means none of us have EVER cheated in a class… right? Suuure. Well, as long as there are students, exams, papers and homework assignments, there will be cheating. We’re not helpless, though, there are some steps that we can take to educate ourselves, and to help our students avoid this dangerous path.

Continue reading

First Day Handout mayhem!

Today, I’d like to introduce a new member of our team, and guest blogger, Mr. John! He’s going to share with us some valuable information on First Day Handouts:

Mornings are darker and night comes sooner, heralding summer’s retreat and the coming of fall.  Whether Faculty or Student we probably all say it; “Where did summer go so fast?  Is it really time for school to start!”

The CTL would like to wish returning and new faculty a hearty “Welcome back!”  We’re here to help you maximize the learning experience for your students and to make your life easier.  So, we thought we’d start out the semester with some information and resource links about how to craft or improve a course syllabus.  At Macomb Community College we call this your “first day handout.” Continue reading

Why care about instructional technology?!

The “internets” are full of great resources for educators. After a little searching, I’ve found another sister blog that is packed-full of great info. It’s called Emerging Ed Tech and it’s managed by the Director of Institutional Info & Tech from The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY. Check it out!

Specifically, this article caught my attention: 5 Reasons Why Educators Need To Embrace Internet Technologies. If you’re still unsure about technology and the internet’s place in the classroom, the points in the article may change your mind.

And as always, if you find any good resources, please share them with us in the comments section below!

Wake your students!

How many of us have suffered through classes that follow this pattern?

Go to class, listen to lecture, stare at PowerPoint slides  –  go home and (sort-of) read the book  –  return to class and take multiple-choice test  –  repeat until the end of the semester.

And more importantly, how many of us are still teaching this way?!

One of the most challenging tasks for an educator is to create classroom exercises that mirror the big, bad, scary real-world, which also engage students in the learning process. Enter… the group project! Through our interactions with faculty here in the CTL, we’ve learned that group projects are actually quite challenging to administer and monitor. How do you, as the instructor, ensure that each student’s group learning experience is meaningful? Continue reading

Sister blog!

Our “Instructional Technology at Macomb” blog is relatively new to the blogosphere (don’t you love made-up tech words like blogosphere?!). We’re still settling into the neighborhood, but we’re already making new friends!

Susan over at Adelphi University in New York is our newest friend, and we appreciate her kind words about our blog! Their Faculty Center is like our Center for Teaching and Learning, and they run an excellent blog, so check it out!

And if you enjoy free stuff like we do, be sure to read their entry on “Free and Public Domain Multimedia for Classroom Use!”

Presentation Zennnnn

I’ve been doing it wrong all along, and so have you!

Garr Reynold’s approach to presentation design is fresh and effective. As referred to in this previous post, we follow many incorrect conventions when creating our instructional material. The madness must stop! Here are a few ways to find the path to presentation zen:

  1. Attend the upcoming instructional technology workshop.
  2. Regularly read the presentation zen blog.
  3. Read the book.

And, of course, consult with your campus Center For Teaching and Learning for assistance!

12-year-olds are smarter than you!

I’ll man-up and admit it, I’m not as smart as a 12-year-old girl. At least, not Adora Svitak, who gave a very convincing presentation on “What adults can learn from kids” earlier this year. Click on the image below to view the video, which is available on Ted.com. This website is a great resource to find though-provoking, relevant, and intelligent presentations given by a variety of great minds (old and young)!

What do you think about Adora’s presentation? Can her ideas apply to your classroom? If so, how? Are there any other presentations on Ted.com that caught your eye?

Blogs blogs blogs

Now that we’ve got your attention with our blog, I thought it would be a good time to give a “shout-out” to other popular Educational Technology blogs and websites! If you find any that are useful, let us know!