bullet points on my first day of teaching

  1. Grading Participation Here is my evil|brilliant (depending on your perspective) plan: I’m going to make participation worth 12% of the final grade. Students will get graded on participation 4 times this semester, so each grade is worth a maximum of 3 points. In order to get a grade, a student must solicit 2 brief letters (emails, really) of recommendation from fellow students. And those emails need to contain specific details about how that student has contributed something valuable to the class. What do you think?
  2. Sticky Notes & Flickr In my first class this morning (Senior Seminar) I repeated the sticky-note+flickr process from last semester. This time, I asked students three questions:
    1. Orange sticky: Why did you major in English?
    2. Blue sticky: What do you plan to do after you graduate?
    3. Yellow sticky: If you needed to explain what’s valuable about your undergraduate education (to a potential employer, to a graduate or professional program), what would you say?

    We then stuck all the notes on the wall and discussed the answers while I took pictures. Before they left, students took back their sticky notes, and they’ll develop those initial thoughts as the semester goes on.

  3. Office Hours I came up with 3 possible permutations of offering office hours that work with my schedule, and I’m using a poll on Doodle to have students vote on which permutation works for them. The one with the most votes wins. And, of course, students are always welcome to make an appointment with me outside of office hours.
  4. Live Calendar My homepage has been completely revamped and is now super simple. It does need some style (cascading style, if you will) and I’ll soon add unobtrusive but accessible links to research and service activities, but I have succeeded at stripping it down to the basics: my semester schedule (with links to pages for my classes), a public version of my Google Calendar, and basic contact information. We’ll see how this goes…
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One thought on “bullet points on my first day of teaching

  1. I’m really interested in hearing the results of the participation plan. I try to integrate student grading as much as possible by asking them to grade their group members’ contributions using the same rubrics I use. That’s worked OK, but I like the idea of going past grading and into recommendations. It will be fascinating to read what the students consider to be valuable contributions to class discussion. Will frequent comments be viewed as more valuable than less-frequent, but more substantive, comments?

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