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Your First Semester: Throughout the Semester

Lecture effectively, enhance interaction, use multiple media, embrace diversity, organize, utilize course reserves, write test questions that encourage critical thinking, and have students apply subject matter to solve real problems.

  • Lecture effectively
    Explore Instruction at FSU: A Guide to Teaching & Learning Practices, Chapter 7: Lecturing Effectively for ideas on organizing your lectures and making them interactive so that students remain engaged with the material throughout the class. Chapter 11: Teaching Contexts discusses interactivity in large classes and laboratory settings.
    • Be redundant: Students should hear, read, or see key material at least three times.
    • Organize: Give visible structure by posting the day's "menu" on the chalkboard or overhead.
    • Use multiple media: Use variety in methods of presentation every class meeting. Consider overhead projection from your laptop, slides, streaming media, film, video, audio, models, and sample material.
  • Enhance interaction
    See our section on classroom and pedagogical techniques for particulars on group dynamics, making lectures effective and engaging, and maintaining professional classroom relations. One way to enhance the learning experience of your students is through "active learning" -- shifting the student role from that of passive receptor to active participant. Chapter 8: Using Active Learning in the Classroom in the handbook Instruction at FSU contains descriptions of active learning strategies. A simple strategy for integrating active learning into your class sessions and assignments is to ask yourself: "How can I get students to discover the connections and build on the readings or lectures?" or "How can they apply or practice in class what we've been studying?"
     
  • Organize grading criteria in a rubric
    A rubric is a scoring tool that indicates the criteria for a student assignment. It describes the standards the assignment must fill in terms of such criteria as thesis statement, organization, supporting materials, style/voice, and writing mechanics. For each criterion, the rubric commonly describes discrete levels of quality, ordered from highest to lowest. Rubrics can be used for essays, papers, participation, presentations, projects, or work groups. See Using Rubrics for detailed information.
     
  • Help students maintain integrity in their papers and projects
    Remind students about their pledge to uphold the FSU Academic Honor Policy and review strategies for avoiding plagiarism. Many students are unsure about the ownership of web material and tend to see content from the virtual (and casual) space of the Internet quite differently from the content housed in the "protected" (and hallowed) space of a physical library. Discuss plagiarism in your classroom:
    • why students should avoid it
    • how students can avoid it through organized research and proper citations
    • how they can integrate sources into their own work without violating copyright law or the Honor Code
    Visit Robust Assessments for more information on how your students can submit their work through Canvas.
  • Keep a teaching journal
    While you are still experiencing the successes and challenges of this semester, consider recording some notes on practices and activities that are or aren't moving the class towards your stated objectives. You might want to reflect on your teaching and note what you might like to try or change in a future course. Once the semester is over, we tend to forget the assignment that didn’t work as well as intended or the lecture that created confusion – and thus be destined to repeat the same mistakes in subsequent semesters. Even a few notes could prompt you on how to design more effective instruction in the future. See Chapter 14: Improving Your Teaching with Feedback, particularly the section on Self-Reflection in Instruction at FSU, the faculty teaching handbook.
     
  • Use course reserves in Canvas
    Have students access articles and book chapters directly from your course website without having to use an additional system or learn a separate password. Access through the "Library Tool" link on your course navigation menu, and then click "Get Library Help." This will take you to the FSU Libraries website, where you can find course reserve information under "Services" > "Course Reserves."
     

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