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Thoughts on Getting Class Ready for Fall

August 1, 2014

Happy Friday, dear readers! Can you believe we are already at the start of August? I can’t. This means that I have a month and some change until Fall Quarter starts, which means I really need to get my class ready. I always revamp my class quite a lot during the summer based on feedback and observations from the previous year’s teaching. This coming year, I’m teaching in a new first-year experience cluster, Taking Charge of Your Life: Balance, which I’m very excited about and today I wanted to share a few thoughts about getting my class ready for fall.

First, I love revamping my classes. It is what allows me to integrate new, relevant content and examples for my students and, equally importantly, it keeps me from being bored teaching introduction to information literacy classes every year. I also love teaching, so that helps, too. While I tweak my classes between quarters, there isn’t enough time to do huge overhauls so those have to wait until summer. Then I have the headspace and the time to map out my ten-week class and figure out what to keep and what to change.

I’ve been teaching in the flipped classroom model for the past two years and it has been really a good change. Having lecture material as homework, mainly in the form of video tutorials, has freed up classroom time for activities and discussion. Students, overall, really like being able to review the videos to help them with their work. But not everything has gone perfectly. This year, I’m adding back in a few more traditional homework assignments as I’ve found students need more practice with certain concepts and this practice needs to be graded so the majority of my students will complete the work.

I’m also excited that I get to teach the information literacy class within the larger cluster focused on balance and making conscious decisions about your life. I’m looking forward to learning a lot from my students and being able to share some of the things that allow me to have a fulfilling and balanced (to the best of my ability) life. I’m also super-excited because it means I get to share a lot of TED Talks. So excited. I’m hoping to use the TED Talks as introductory discussion topics with my students for each class. I’ll let you know.

So what gets you excited about teaching or presenting or sharing what you know with others? If you teach, how do you go about revamping your classes or orientation sessions? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Finally I want to leave you with a TED Talk that I’m planning on sharing with my class in fall quarter. Hopefully it will inspire some of them.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, dear readers. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

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