Preparing to Teach

16 Community-Building Ice-Breakers for Zoom

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies Among the many objectives for the first day of class, for some teachers, is to create a sense of community. Many of the strategies used face-to-face may be adapted to the online environment. Here are some ice-breakers that have worked in the past. They may be adapted to

What’s Best for Students? How Do You Know?

by Kaleb Heinrich, Biological Sciences Remember the WWJD bracelets from the 1990s? They were popular among U.S. Christians, who used them to prompt ethical mindfulness. I’ve got the next best thing for college and university faculty, staff, and administration. WBFS – What’s best for students? This question should be at the root of every decision

Five Rules For Engaging, Legible Presentation Slides

by Xabier Granja, Department of Modern Languages and Classics Picture this: you are teaching a content class that is not based on visual material. Maybe you cover centuries-old literary works or political movements that did not spark a major artistic style, so you have to rely on text. We live in an age where 92%

How to Create an Inclusive Syllabus

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies Our syllabi are among the first points of contact with our students. And if the scholarship showing that students’ first impressions of our courses typically last for the entire semester, then we should pay attention to how the syllabus is a crucial document. An ad-hoc group of 21 faculty

Guide to Managing Class Discussion in a Tense Atmosphere 

by Cassander L. Smith and Lauren S. Cardon, Department of English On February 18, 2019, the Department of English hosted a one-day symposium, “Teaching with Tension,” that addressed the extent to which attitudes about race and political environments produce pedagogical challenges for professors in the humanities. The day’s discussion included the presentation of a document

How to Foster an Inclusive Classroom with a Constitution (Repost)

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies In Fall 2018, Cathy Davidson invited me to repost from the Teaching Hub to the HASTAC (Humanities and Sciences Technology and Collaborative) website. And so I am returning the favor this semester by reposting something I promised to write for HASTAC: “To follow up on my promise from last

Blackboard Pro-Tip: Step Up Students’ Blackboard Literacy

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies “We couldn’t find it on Blackboard!” Maybe you heard this about your syllabus? I heard this from my class after I returned their assignments online. Some people could not find their grades. Others could not find the general feedback I wrote about the assignment. Others still could not

Blackboard Pro-Tip: Tweaking Your Course Shell

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies The College of Continuing Studies likely houses the most people at UA with a total mastery of Blackboard Learn. If you use Blackboard and want to quickly learn how to optimize it for your teaching, then the folks at CCS may well have the answers you are looking

How to Create a Syllabus

“Syllabus” is a Latin term which is used to perform a variety of functions. For the Roman Catholic Church, it is a list of errors. For most educators, syllabi orient the program of teaching and learning for a specific class. Some teachers see their syllabus as a manifesto. Others understand how the syllabus enacts particular

How to Add Grades to Blackboard, Box, and myBama

by Nathan Loewen, Department of Religious Studies The syllabus charts out the machinery that makes the grades: learning goals and objectives, assignments and the grading policy. Once the term begins, the supporting technology must be put into action. Graded Assignments: Hard-Copy Vs. Digital The advantages of hard-copy versus digital assignments vary. Plenty of storage hassles