I’m feeling kind of unsettled this month. After taking a break from blogging over the month-long year-end break, I’m finding it difficult to kick-start myself. In preparing this post, I looked back at my resolutions – and I want to assure you, I’ve kept them as well as I can. Although, I did have a student today ask if he should finish the “pre-lab 2” assignment before or after attending lab 2. It’s hard to know how much clearer I can make assignment titles.
I spent quite a bit of time over the holiday break refining my courses, particularly the online instructions. I actually had a student tell me she was intimidated by how much she was going to have to wade through just to start the course. I’m not sure how to fix that. I remember when I started teaching microbiology lab, that my pre-lab briefs were pretty short. As my experience increased, the length of my briefs did, too – I kept adding to the things that could go wrong, as students continued to find new ways to mess up the lab. So now, I find myself adding to the instructions about how the course works, to the point (apparently) that students are overwhelmed by the instructions before they even get to the content.
So, I’ve decided to look for expert help. I will ask our resident instructional designer to review my course orientations, and see if they can be streamlined – or if they are fine the way they are. I”m reading about teaching and learning, which I’ll report on in future posts.
Most significantly, I’ve signed up for Valerie O’Loughlin’s HAPS-I course on educational research. After thirty-plus years of being a professional educator, I suppose it’s high time I actually get some professional development on education. I’m looking forward to creating a system of asking, and answering, questions about how my students learn and what I can do to facilitate their success. Particularly as I am chair of the college’s General Education Committee, I feel compelled to collect meaningful information that measures parameters that matter, rather than just what is easy to quantify.
One of the best aspects of a HAPS-I course is the interaction with peers. With a focus on a specific outcome, the quality of discourse can be amazing, and I’m looking forward to working with HAPS colleagues to explore aspects of metacognition and the scholarship of teaching. I encourage you to join us – or to find some other avenue to enhance your scholarship of teaching. Have a great spring semester!