First Monday in August

Which means SYLLABUS PREP

I like course design, re-design, and implementation. This blog post is my attempt to pause and think before I dive into the minutia. It is a stepping back to remind myself of the big picture. A reflection on what the work ahead involves.

It’s still a pandemic and my students are still in crisis. Some of this is because of the changes and uncertainty the delta variant is raising. Some of this is how the long timeline of the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing hardships. Just the pandemic itself has created a fatigue. We’re not starting from zero, but from minus 45.

The positive of the pandemic teaching experience is that I’ve learned to be more flexible, and am sure I can find even more ways to be flexible.

Most of the courses I’m teaching this fall have never been taught in a pandemic before. To do the work ahead I want to start by thinking closely about what I consider most essential for my students to learn, all the different ways they might learn those things, as well as reviewing and affirming my own ethical principles. This list of reminders to myself will likely grow…

  • Invite students to articulate what they need
  • Believe students
  • The function of grades is to help communicate progress towards course completion
  • Any passing grade indicates how well the student has met learning outcomes
  • Incentivize engagement
  • Provide clear structures
  • Provide flexibility
  • Provide alternative means of meeting course objectives
  • Encourage students to apply pre-existing knowledge
  • Empower students to find and evaluate information independently and share that information with peers
  • Foster positive peer to peer interaction
  • Make transparent WHY each task associated with the course is useful and/or meaningful

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