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During the month of July, I decided to theme my eight YouTube videos to focus on specific types of teaching tips and assignments ideas. Each week had its own theme: college basics, writing, literature, and multimedia. On Tuesdays, I shared some resources or tools tied to the theme. On Fridays, I shared three assignment ideas. If you want access to the assignment sheet templates, I created a small Teachable course, called “Assignments Jumpstart 2021,” to host those Google Docs, as well as PDFs about the resources and tools. In this blog post, I’ve listed information about the month’s videos and added links to all of them. If you teach college freshman or are interested in improving student academic writing or multimodal writing, check out the videos below.

College Basics

When teaching college freshman, many of your students might need help with taking notes, keeping notes organized, and productivity. These helpful tools are all free to use for your students. Introducing these tools to them can help improve their college experience. You might find the tools helpful for your own work, as well. Along with these tools, I also recommend these three assignment ideas. They focus on taking lecture notes, annotating readings, and using the class LMS website.

Writing

These five helpful websites are really useful if you are teaching your students how to improve their academic writing skills. The last one can even be useful for advanced writers. The three assignment ideas focus on getting to know your students, teaching them how to outline a paper, and helping them organize and remember their research with an annotated bibliography. While great for a composition course, these assignments can definitely be used across different courses.

Literature

Teaching literature? I recommend these types of texts when getting started. Literary analysis can be really confusing to students, so starting with these texts can help them slowly gain confidence in their reading and analysis skills. The three assignment ideas can work in most courses, not just literature-focused ones. They are a one-pager, a discussion facilitation group project, and a presentation that ties the course to the students’ majors. I’ve found them really useful when teaching general education literature courses.

Multimedia

The three free tools are great for creating multimodal or multimedia projects. The video editing software can be pretty complex, but Loom is a great free option that keeps recording and editing really simple. You can see examples of using the tools in both videos, with the assignment ideas video showing Loom in particular. These tools and activities might be too advanced for some courses, if you don’t have the time to teach students to use them. But, they are great for creating multimodal work. Canva is the most user-friendly; not much instruction is needed for students to use that tool.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed having this themed structure throughout the month. August will focus more generally on teaching and edtech advice, since it’s the start of a new semester. If you are new to this blog, I recommend checking out my past posts. I have a lot of material on here that can help new college instructors, especially the Successful Start: Designing Your First Week of Class series and free workbook. This post on 10 teaching tips is also a great place to start, or this round up post. And if you want the assignment sheet templates for the above assignment ideas, here’s the course link again.

Here are 12 assignment ideas for college students, plus tools to use when teaching college basics, writing, literature, and multimedia.
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