Category Archives: In The Classroom

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Shhh!

The Wisconsin Women in Higher Education Leadership group, hosted by Dean Sue Mattison, met on campus recently to discuss the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

As an introvert myself, the book spoke to me with its portrayals of awkward small talk, nerve-wreaking meetings and the constant professionalfocus on brain-storming and group-work. The book restrains itself from devolving into stereotypes and instead offers introverts and extroverts alike, an important insight into how people process and share information. Cain shares her own experience from the workplace, marriage and as a parent, and provides useful and concrete advice for readers from both camps. To get a glimpse into the book, check out Cain’s immensely popular TED talk on the same topic.

With participants from across campus, the discussion mostly focused on the importance of valuing introverted traits in colleagues, supervisors and employees. However, as there were a number of faculty members present, some of the discussion focused on how to best accommodate both introverted and extroverted students in the classroom. Many faculty stated that the sophisticated facilitation of discussion in class was important to make everyone feel comfortable. The book also suggested that splitting larger classes into smaller groups that were consistent for the whole semester may help. Finally, participants in the book club reminded faculty to consider offering all students the option to offer their opinion in other ways beyond group discussions.

Interested in reading more about the power of introverts? Check out Susan Cain’s book at the CATL library.

Joanne DolanJoanne Dolan
Instructional Design Coordinator, CATL

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Innovative Strategies For General Education

I was given the opportunity to attend and participate in the Baccalaureate Program Directors (BPD) Conference in Louisville, KY in March 2014 under the auspices of a teaching enhancement grant.  My goal was to learn innovative strategies that could be implemented in the general education course I teach (American Social Welfare, soon to be called Foundation of Social Policy) both in the face-to-face offering and in the development of an on-line version of the course to be taught in summer.  Continue reading

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A Reflection of The Peer Observation Process

One “assignment” in the Teaching Scholars program is to conduct a formative peer observation with a Teaching Scholar colleague.  My initial reaction to this process was one of insecurity, i.e., questioning my own teaching style and concern over selecting the “right” class session to be observed.  I was determined to select a class session with significant theoretical content, with an obvious beginning and end to allow for a complete assessment, and a session that was presented primarily by me (versus the students).  That plan put me in a quandary.  Continue reading

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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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Observing In The Classroom

As a part of my responsibilities as Faculty Consultant for CATL, I was required to observe and conduct a peer evaluation of our new faculty members.  Truly this was the best experience of this position!  For the uninitiated, the instructor fills out a detailed pre-observation form detailing class objectives and the activities to attain those objectives.  Space for the goals of the course as well as current concerns is also provided. Continue reading

Professor Advising Students

How hard is advising?

When I was first starting out as a professor students would ask me questions I just found ridiculous. Like, did they need to take a particular art history course. I thought, geez, take what the catalogue tells you to take! I didn’t always comprehend that a major or minor could have options, there could be confusion, and that the students themselves maybe didn’t know who else to ask those questions of. No, I thought, as the professor, their questions for me should be strictly limited to class content! Everything else was, “See your advisor.” And the advisor was never going to be me. Continue reading

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