This month we will hit the mid-semester mark. There are a few tasks that should be done at this time:
- Contact students who are not on track to succeed in your class
- Implement a midterm check-in with students to see how they perceive your ability to facilitate the learning objectives in the course
- Confirm correct Spring 2019 courses are posted in Canvas
This is the midterm mark and students who are struggling to succeed in your course can either give up or persist. The Chronicle of Higher Education published an interesting study (August 2018), How One Email from You Could Help Students Succeed. In the article, Dr. Cohen’s class had 160-200 students and she was uncertain how to motivate failing students to persist. She found that sending a personalized and supportive email showed she cared about the students’ success. Dr. Cohen noticed that a significant number of those students who she emailed responded positively by taking responsibility for their grades and demonstrated the largest increase in scores for the next half of the semester. This is an example of a classroom based “nudge” or intervention. The “nudge” movement is based on the idea that waiting for students to ask for help is often not an effective way to support struggling learners. If you would like to read more about this topic, here is the link to the original article.
Continuing on in the same vein, mid-term course evaluations are a great way to see what is working and not working for your students. You can easily create an anonymous survey in Canvas and encourage students to give detailed feedback for each question. Some good survey questions include:
- What materials or teaching strategies are helpful to your success in this class?
- What materials or teaching strategies are not helpful to your success in this class?
- How much time do you spend outside of class to complete the course work and study for exams?
- What are some additional resources or teaching strategies you would like to see in the class? How will they help you to be successful in this class?
Critical to this process is your transparency in noting student responses and implementing some suggestions. Discussing materials/instructional strategies that cannot be changed and why is also important so students understand why something cannot be changed. If you would like to read more about this topic, here is a link to a very insightful resource.
Looking forward to next semester, Spring 2019 courses have been created in Canvas. Please take a moment to check your courses and contact your Chairperson if you see any discrepancies. If you are teaching more than one of the same course, you might consider a Blueprint that will simplify communications and updates. If you are interested in using a Blueprint course, please contact your Instructional Designer.
Have a wonderful Autumn!