Monday, September 29, 2008

Get out there and observe

I have been so lucky recently to have multiple opportunities to observe my colleagues teaching on-campus and online. It has served to rejuvenate my own teaching...encouraging me to reflect on my teaching and course design decisions. These observations have reinforced for me the following:

  • The importance of connecting with students and enhancing social presence.
  • The value of establishing and continually reminding students of the relevance of their coursework in terms of the profession for which they are preparing.
  • The need to use a variety of instructional strategies in order to engage all of the students in the room.
  • The criticality of providing students with clear directions and expectations at the get-go.
  • The usefulness of consistent and frequent opportunities for students to receive feedback.

If you are able, ask colleagues if you can observe them in action (or, better yet, for a learning community with a group of colleagues that allows for observation and follow-up and continued discussion about teaching and learning). Or, check with your Center for Faculty Development. Ours has a list of faculty who have agreed to allow colleagues to visit their classrooms. Definitely an opportunity to take advantage of.

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