Upcoming workshops address topics Vanderbilt TAs need to know about
Clickers, Clickers Everywhere
Clickers are popping up in classrooms across the university – in physics, math, psychology, biomedical engineering – and other universities are seeing the same increase in use. And it’s easy to see why – clickers have been proven to increase class participation and improve attendance, assess class understanding of a topic, and provide easy grade opportunities. Clickers provide a great way to transform a run-of-the-mill large lecture class into an exciting learner-centered experience. And that’s great, but what’s in it for you as the instructor?
Did you know that using clickers not only transforms your students’ learning, but it can transform your teaching as well? Research is showing that the use of clickers can serve as formative assessment of your teaching, teach you about your students, and contribute to your understanding of your role as a teacher. What better way to find out what your student do or don’t understand, what they have questions about, and adjust the way you’re presenting material about those very things? The ongoing feedback about student learning in the classroom that clickers provide may transform the way you teach – moving your practices from teacher-centered to student-centered.
And such a transformation will surely show up in your teaching statement, and is likely to arise in job interviews as well. Add the use of clickers to your repertoire and, we think, you’ll find that you have an excellent speaking point in your next job talk – you can discuss the challenges you overcame to learn a new technology, the process you went through to learn how to effectively incorporate clickers into your lectures, and the learning outcomes that your students displayed as a result. So join us next week for our workshop on Teaching with Clickers!
Disruptive, Discourteous, and Distracted
Do these adjectives describe your students? Is that student in the back row checking his Facebook? (Again?!) And those two over there… are they cheating? And what about that other student? You know the one – she comes to you after every assignment is handed back to discuss her A- grade. And is that a phone I hear ringing?
How do you handle these ‘incivilities’ in your classroom? Sure, you address the basics in your syllabus, but when problematic behaviors arise, how do you handle them face-to-face with a student? And what do your students think of the behaviors (and your reaction to them)? Research shows that talking during class, coming to class under the influence of drugs or alcohol, allowing cell phones to ring, and nonverbally showing disrespect to others top the list of behaviors that students themselves consider uncivil in the classroom. Not only do they find these behaviors to be disruptive, they also think that these behaviors interfere with their learning. So what’s an instructor to do? Join us at the Student Incivility workshop on Monday, February 6th for practical strategies to reduce or eliminate these behaviors and more.
Have you been there? Grading jail, that is? Grading can certainly be a source of stress for instructors even though it’s a part of the academic life. Why? Most commonly grading feels like jail because of the amount of time it takes to grade assignments – and to grade them well. As an instructor, you want to leave meaningful comments, you want to return papers in a reasonable amount of time, and you want to give students the feedback they need to know how they’re performing in your class.
Grading can also feel like jail, because, well… it can be difficult. Remaining objective, and assessing work fairly is sometimes hard, particularly when you’re worried that a grade might come into question.
So what you can you do to make grading less stressful and more efficient? Come and find out. We’ll be discussing how to know if you’re being fair in your assessment of student work, how to handle it when a student questions a grade, and how to carve out enough time in your already busy schedule to read all of those student essays and/or grade those problem sets.
Teaching with Clickers
Date & Time: Thursday, February 2, 4:10-5:30
Date & Time: Monday, February 6, 4:10-5:30
Grading Effectively & Efficiently
Date & Time: Wednesday, February 22, 4:10-5:30