Erika Romero

PhD Candidate and Education Blogger

Category: Professional Development

Designing a Course Assessment to Get Student Feedback

Are you tired of relying on student evals as the only form of student feedback on your courses? Is that feedback even helpful at all? Personally, I prefer to ask my students course-specific questions at the end of the semester. That way, I gain insight into how my students feel about the required texts, assignments, and course tools I’ve chosen to use during a particular semester (among other information). In today’s post, I describe the seven elements I ask about when designing a course assessment. I highly recommend designing your own versions for your future courses.

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The BEST Assessment Tool to Use Midway through the Semester?

When checking for written student feedback on end-of-year evaluation opt-scans, I always hope I don’t receive a comment about a small, simple change I could have made that would have made a major difference for a student. At that point, nothing can be done. Of course, that student could have made this suggestion during any of the occasions that I ask students how they are doing with the class activities and if there is any concern they’d like to bring up. Still, as a student and an instructor, I know voluntarily deciding to critique an instructor to their face isn’t exactly an easy thing to do.

Fortunately, I’ve found a way to decrease this type of feedback on my student evals by completing a course assessment midway through the semester. I’ve mentioned this tool before when talking about my various assessment strategies, but today’s post is all about the “Midterm Chat.” This is my top tool for insuring that (a) my students get the most out of my class and (b) my evals are as positive as I can inspire them to be.

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5 Great Places to Find Inspiration for Class Assignments

Creating innovative classroom assignments can be a struggle when trying to balance all your other responsibilities. It can be easier just to rely on your old faithful assignments, rather than consider how to enliven your syllabus with new assignments that might better engage your students. Today’s post provides a lists of places where you can quickly find inspiration for classroom assignments. It also provides specific examples of my own assignments that have received good results from my students. If you’re looking for new ways to find classroom assignment inspiration, definitely check out this list of five resources.

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Top 5 Online Resources for Teachers

 

I focused last week’s post on the top tool all college instructors should be using in their learning management system (LMS). In today’s post, I broaden my advice to some amazing resources I’ve come across while searching online for ways to improve my courses. My list doesn’t focus on online tools like Trello or Kahoot, but rather websites with plenty to offer teachers who want to create innovative and engaging course content. If you’re interested in learning more about useful tools rather than online resources, here are a few blog posts I’ve written that are all about that topic (post 1, post 2). Once you check out those, though, I still recommend giving this post a read, as well! Here’s a teaser: there’s a huge catalog of college courses with all their materials listed just waiting for you to explore…

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10 Teaching Tips for the New College Instructor

 

If you’re a graduate student teaching for the first time as part of your assistantship (aka, a GTA), today’s post is for you. If you’re a new adjunct who hasn’t been in the college classroom for a while, I also suggest checking out these ten teaching tips. Finally, if you’re an experienced college instructor wondering what your students might find most important about some of your teaching decisions, check out this list. I’ve focused my advice on course elements that heavily affected me as a student and/or affect me now as an instructor.

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Top 5 Productivity Apps for Teachers, Students, and Writers (Trello Templates Included)

 

Using digital tools to help with productivity isn’t a new concept, of course, as there are dozens if not hundreds of websites and apps designed for this specific purpose. [Many pins on this topic can be found here.] Because there are so many options out there, though, it can be hard to know which ones are even worth trying out to see if they work well with your particular ways of planning projects, building habits, and/or going through the writing process. In this post, I describe my top productivity apps, a few of which I rarely hear mentioned among my peers, friends, and family. While most of the apps listed are made to be completely customized by the individual using it, Trello’s collaborative nature inspired me to create templates of the Fall 2018 semester to share with any teachers or students reading this post. Keep in mind that I use Apple products, so some of these apps might not work with non-Apple devices.

 

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Pinterest Tips: Using Pinterest Boards as Resource Archives

 

Pinterest is a visual search engine first, and a social media website second. Yes, you can follow people and/or their boards on Pinterest, but that’s not a vital element of the site like it is with sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Rather, in my opinion, Pinterest is a great search engine to use when you’re looking for resources on topics that interest you, and you want to see dozens of options instantly rather than having to scroll through Google or Bing, reading each listed link one by one. The visual nature of Pinterest is really appealing to me (and many others), and the organizational element of Pinterest boards makes archiving the resources you find and/or create extremely user-friendly. In today’s post, I offer a few tips for using Pinterest boards and go through my main Pinterest boards in case you’re looking for resources connected to the topics that I focus on in this blog.

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Top 5 Tips for Attending an Academic Conference

While summer might be the best time for students and teachers to take a break from the fast-paced life of the academic school year, for graduate students and professors, it is also the best time for working on research projects without the distraction of attending and/or teaching classes. In my opinion, it is also the best time for attending academic conferences, as it is much less likely that attending a conference will interfere with any teaching responsibilities.

Luckily for those of us in the children’s and young adult literature field (ChYALit), our major annual conference takes place during the summer months. The Children’s Literature Association Conference (better known as ChLA) usually takes place in June (at least, for the past few years in which I’ve attended). ChLA began in 1973, and it is just one of the conferences I have attended and presented at during my time as a graduate student. As I just returned from presenting at the 2017 conference this past weekend, I decided to devote this new blog post to offering tips on the best things to do when attending and/or presenting at an academic conference. I know I was very nervous leading up to my first conference experience, so I hope anyone new to this aspect of academia (or someone who just doesn’t seem to be having good experiences with it) benefits from reading this post. So, with this introductory information out of the way, let’s get down to my tips. I’ve listed them from least to most important, so make sure to at least skim through until you reach #1 on this list of tips for attending an academic conference.

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