Many instructors are moving toward a blended or hybrid style of teaching in which students learn the course material at home and spend much of their in-class time interacting with that material. In these courses students may do readings, participate in online discussions, and even hear lectures from home. If you record lectures or have been thinking about trying the technique, take a little time to familiarize yourself with Video Best Practices, which offers advice on video length, recording, captioning, and other considerations.
You may also be interested in a Faculty Focus article published last week that recommends how to extend the shelf-life of your instructional videos. The article suggests that we avoid six common pitfalls:
- Avoid references to earlier and later lectures
- Don’t refer to lectures by number – at least in the videos themselves
- Don’t incorporate web links
- Avoid office-specific references
- Beware of current events
- Avoid discussion of particular assessments
See the Faculty Focus article for more details. Visit the CETL’s Educational Technologies website for information on the Lightboard, MediaSite, and other resources for recording lectures; and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
Prepare for the First Day of Class
The first day of class is important on many levels: It affords you the opportunity to introduce yourself and the course, get a sense of your students, and set the tone for the semester. It also gives students a chance to try the course out—to get a sense of who you are and what your course will be like. Carefully plan the first class session so you are sure to cover everything intended.
Before you step into the classroom…
- Know the rules
- View your class roster
- Visit your classroom
On the first day…
- Plan this first class session carefully (maybe even script it to ensure that you accomplish everything you intended)
- Introduce yourself and your course; don’t forget to convey your own passion!
- Show an interest in getting to know your students
- Save time for students’ questions
Perhaps the most important way to establish a positive and productive classroom environment, beginning on day one, is through effective communication. Take a look at these Mentor Commons videos for tips on communicating in the classroom: What Is the Role of Communication In Teaching Excellence?, How Can I Communicate to Engage Students and Encourage Learning?, and How Can I Avoid Communication “Misfires” with Students? If you haven’t yet activated your Mentor Commons account (which is free and available to all UConn instructors), here are the instructions: http://cetl.uconn.edu/20-minute-mentor-commons-subscription/
Please also visit CETL’s web pages on Preparing for Your First Class and Interacting with Students During Your First Class for UConn-specific suggestions on how to achieve these goals and other helpful details.