June 26, 2013

School year 2012-13 reflections

I had my annual review with my dean yesterday.  It went well, and although I don't have much to say about the review specifically, it was a time to reflect on things that went well and not so well in class this past year.

What I've come up with are things that I'm going to try in order to build on what has been going well and correct things that are not going so well:

  1. I'm going to completely change how I assign what I call "Reading Reviews". This is probably going to be my biggest change next year, and I plan to have a separate post on this topic soon.
  2. Lab report first drafts are going to be due the next class period we meet after the lab has been completed. Part of the point of a science course should be to model good scientific processes. I am terrible at quickly writing up scientific work that I do. But, if I want my students to start forming good habits, then we need them to write up what they do in lab as quickly as possible. That way there is less time for the memory of what was done in lab to fade. I will continue to use the policy of allowing as many rewrites as needed to get full credit on the lab.

    I saw that Joss posted about his concerns about lab report revisions on twitter today:
    That's a concern I have, too, but ultimately the responsibility is on the student to meet the expectations put forth in the syllabus.
  3. I give a lot of short quizzes the first part of the semester, hopefully to encourage preparation for exams. I am planning to grade the quizzes in class as soon as they are done. We use a studio physics classroom, which makes for long class periods (at least 2 hours), and since I see my role as a facilitator of the learning environment rather than a lecturer, I will need to have mostly self-directed tasks for the class to work on for the 20ish minutes it will take to score all the quizzes.  My goal is to have the immediate feedback encourage the students to come to class better prepared for quizzes and exams. Even though I'm not using standards-based grading specifically, I am striving towards keeping the spirit of SBG. (Excellent post by Frank Noschese.)
  4. Based on what I learned at the New Faculty Experience, I will be trying to make more frequent reflections.  I started doing this late in the year using Evernote.  Part of my problem with doing it regularly was that I had a tight schedule last semester. In the Fall I won't have that issue.
If I could identify a few things that went really well this year, I would say that in the Spring term especially, I used a lot of the TIPERs activities with whiteboards fairly effectively.  I do think I need to better introduce how the class needs to share their whiteboard work with each other.  Also, although we were able to do more labs (and more effectively, I think) I have some plans to better introduce some of the skills I expect them to use throughout the term.

I'm really happy with how the last year turned out.  I am looking forward to the Fall, but really happy to have the Summer to prepare for it.

No comments: