Faculty Blog

Building Community in Large Courses

Building community in the classroom involves establishing a mutual respect between the instructor and students, fostering meaningful peer-to-peer connections, and creating an environment that values diversity. This may sound like a tall order for large classes, but a vibrant classroom community could enhance the big class experience for everyone. Not sure where to start? Here are some

Establishing Classroom Culture

A healthy classroom culture requires more than routines and procedures. It also involves balancing your authority as the instructor, maximizing classroom efficiency, and motivating students to achieve. Holly Grout, a professor of history, and Natalie Dautovich, a professor of psychology, offer tips for creating a positive classroom culture in large courses. Make your expectations clear “Clarity is key.

Providing Feedback in Large Courses

In a large course with limited TA assistance, it may seem impossible to offer students meaningful feedback on their progress. In this post, faculty members describe how they use office hours, technology, and TAs to provide appropriate feedback in their large courses. Office Hours Kim Caldwell: Some students come to my office truly wanting to learn how to learn, and we have great

Giving Quizzes in Blackboard Learn

by Alecia Chatham, Department of Modern Languages and Classics In my online courses, I often post short, weekly quizzes that are graded immediately by Blackboard. There are a few different quiz types that I use for certain things. Key concept quizzes sometimes take students a little more time to figure out on their own, though

Managing Communication in Online Courses

by Alecia Chatham, Department of Modern Languages and Classics I communicate with all students via e-mail and Blackboard announcements. I upload all information, handouts, and useful links to Blackboard for all of my courses. Another great way to use online resources for any type of course is by creating a place for students to check

Feedback in Online Courses

by Alecia Chatham, Department of Modern Languages and Classics Personalized feedback is the best feedback a student can receive. It is the closest to one-on-one teaching possible online short of using Skype! Feedback should always be given either way, personalized or generic. And, if it is generic (i.e., not tailored to an individual student),  it

Mentoring Graduate Teaching Assistants

As the supervising faculty member, you have the opportunity to shape your graduate teaching assistants’ development as educators, as well as how they support your role as the professor. We asked several faculty members how they guide GTAs in managing the classroom, interacting with students, and otherwise balancing the pressures of teaching. Here’s what they had

Engaging Students in Online Courses

by Alecia Chatham, Department of Modern Languages and Classics Keeping students engaged online is definitely challenging. It is a balancing act between engaging and distracting learners! As mentioned in previous posts, the types of questions you ask and how you ask them (for example, timed/un-timed responses) are very important. My strategy for student engagement includes dividing assignments

Crafting Online Discussion Questions

by Alecia Chatham, Department of Modern Languages and Classics Building a community is a key factor in online teaching. Most online classes have a discussion forum for this purpose. Seems simple, right? Well, it’s not as simple as posting a question and requesting responses. This task can present unexpected challenges because some subjects simply do

Teaching Complex Topics in Large Courses

by Kevin Shaughnessy, Department of Chemistry My large class assignments are organic chemistry, which is one of the more challenging lower-level courses that science and pre-health students will take. There is a large volume of material that is highly interconnected. My goals in the class are for them to not only know basic facts, but also