Well, semester is again upon us and there are always the usual things to remember and a number of things we forget! So, it seemed timely to revisit some of our past posts as a reminder for getting focussed and back into teaching.
Your FLO site should be well and truly ready to go but remember that the Preparing for teaching in FLO site is useful for tracking FLO-related tasks associated with effective topic coordination. Links to support resources/information are also provided as well as an ‘Interactive checklist of key tasks’ that you can tick off as you go. If you aren’t sure whether you have everything covered, or are new to teaching at Flinders, have a look at the site (it’s a self-enrol FLO site) to feel confident you are on track.
Starting semester right is always crucial. Some of your students will be new to the University this semester and many of them will be new to you. Remembering to welcome students, get to know them and help them get to know each other is important to support student learning. Deciding how you will keep in touch (them with you and also with each other) will help build learning communities and make any group work less onerous for everyone.
Keeping students engaged:
Once you’ve met your students, considering how to keep them motivated to engage and prepare appropriately for class can be a challenge. We have several articles exploring this including:
- Can we plan to motivate? – gives a number of strategies for getting students motivated and keeping them that way
- Are your students actively learning? – a brainstorm of ideas for getting students engaged in their learning
- Am I teaching inclusively? – ideas for inclusive curriculum design, delivery and assessment
- Walking the talk / More on talking – hints for effective student discussions
- How do I get students to read for class? – looking at how to help students come to class prepared.
Working in groups:
When thinking about your students’ learning activities, asking them to work in groups often comes to mind both for in-class and assessment tasks (including those in the online space). Working collaboratively is a graduate outcome but many students find group work tedious and often challenging. A recent series of posts traversed some of the perils of group work to come up with a range of strategies for effectively and efficiently using groups for students.
- Group work – Getting started easily – why we do it and some simple ideas to get students used to groupwork
- Group work – next steps for success – thoughts on group dynamics and setting up groups
- Group work – group roles and tasks – deciding who should do what in a group and what kinds of tasks work well for group work
- Group work stages and activities – remembering how groups function over time
- Group work – managing conflict and assessment activities – clues for dealing with the inevitable conflict
Remember there are also FAQs about using FLO included with each edition of Learning and Teaching@Flinders if you are having trouble. So, consider having another look (or a first look) at some of these articles for countless ideas on starting semester off on the right note.
Written by Cassandra Hood
Lecturer in Higher Education – CILT