All posts by Joanne Dolan

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Don’t be the 71%

By the time you are standing in front of a classroom of students, ready to teach for the first time, you have probably spent at least 20 years on the other side of the lectern. You have sat through years of wonderful, inspired teaching, and probably an equal amount of less than exhilarating lectures. You have taken hundreds of tests, submitted literally tons of homework and skipped months of classes. You stand there with the benefit of an ‘Apprenticeship of Observation’[1] having become an expert in teaching through exposure.

Did you feel as prepared the first time you taught an online class?

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Are You My Mother?

Are you my Mentor?

For most of my life, I was the one being mentored – by my parents, friends, faculty. It all began to change when I entered the job market. I had two monumental transitions in my life – getting my first university job and becoming a parent. As I gave my research presentation during the on-campus interview, I could feel my son kicking, but my journey of teaching self-examination and change has only just began. In retrospect, as I was learning to be a parent, I was also learning to be a teacher, and, ultimately a mentor. Continue reading

AChristmasStory

Focus on the Positive

I just finished my first semester as an assistant professor here at UWGB. I’ve been told that the first year in an academic position is the most challenging. There are so many demands—new course preps, getting familiar with students, meetings, maintaining an active research agenda…the list goes on and on. One of the things that I think is a primary concern for many new faculty members like myself is the question of what students think of you and your courses. One of things that I was most looking forward to during winter break (of course, the chance to catch my breath from the hectic first semester was at the top of my list) was the opportunity to see what students thought of me on my teaching evaluations. Did students find me to be an effective teacher? Did they like my teaching style? Were the group activities that I planned useful to students? Continue reading

Lamu, Kenya: Electricity Corporation Suggestion Box by Flickr user Lindsay Bremner

Mid-Semester Surveys

One of the most frequent comments I hear about teaching online is how hard it is to know how it’s going. Without those physical cues of light-bulb smiles, slouching students or confused faces, it can feel that you’re teaching into a vacuum for 14 weeks. And whatever your opinion of online CCQs, the results arrive too late to impact the students in front of you now. If you’ve shared this frustration, consider offering your students an informal mid-semester survey. Continue reading

Whistling Vivaldi

Bookclub Review: Whistling Vivaldi

Every semester, CATL sponsors a bookclub to discuss books that broadly impact teaching, learning and life on campus. Fall 2013 saw an invested group of faculty and staff discussing Whistling Vivaldi, an insider’s view into Claude M. Steele’s research and groundbreaking findings on stereotypes and identity. Dr. Gaurav Bansal offered this review of the book.

In Whistling Vivaldi Claude Steele describes that no one is immune from the threat or fear of being stereotyped – that is the fear of what other people could think about us solely because of our race, gender, age, etc. Claude talks about the series of creative experiments he has carried out where he deliberately induced or cleverly removed the stereotype threat. The book shows that the fear of being stereotyped hinders our performance – and it affects each group differently. It affects African Americans on test of intellectual abilities, as it hinders the Math performance of female students among others. The findings presented in this book unearth the powerful and prevalent ways in which group identity affects us all. Every one of us is part of some group affected by negative perceptions and stereotype threats. The awareness of this commonality should help us reconcile with the experiences of others around us.

Copies of Steele’s book are available from the CATL library in IS1144. Interested in suggesting a book or joining us for the Spring Bookclub? Email us at catl@uwgb.edu

Still from the movie Mean Girls

Who Will You Sit With at Lunchtime?

When I was a kid, we moved every few years. My father was in Corporate America, in Middle Management, and in what at that time was this growth industry called Data Processing. This meant, he was relocated every 2-3 years until I was about 13. When you’re a kid, making friends is pretty easy. Nearly all the members of your peer group are open-minded, still, and while politics will emerge as one grows older, there always seemed to be someone who would latch on to the new person and claim “friends.” Continue reading