Erika Romero

PhD Candidate and Education Blogger

Category: Teaching Tools/Resources (page 1 of 3)

College Course Schedule Scaffolding Examples

Creating a syllabus is an essential step in preparing for the first week of teaching a college class. But once you know what topics, activities, and texts you WANT to include in your college course, the next step is to figure out if you have the TIME to devote to all that material. As such, the second part of my “Successful Start” series focuses on structuring a college course schedule. In the workbook, I go over my step-by-step process of brainstorming what to include in a course and drafting a full course schedule. Drafting a course schedule that actually has enough time allotted for everything that needs to be covered (or that you want to cover) is an essential step in preparing to teach a new course. In today’s post, I provide four examples of course schedules I’ve created. Let’s take a look behind the scenes of designing these documents.

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Course Syllabus Example Elements & My Instructor Notes

The course syllabus is often considered to be the most important document in a college course, because it lays down foundational information for your students on the first day of class. As such, the syllabus is the first “College Course Week 1” element discussed in the “Successful Start” workbook and series. [Here’s more information on the series, and here’s the link to the workbook.] Since the workbook covers brainstorming and drafting what elements you need and want in your course syllabus, in today’s post, I’ve provided examples of syllabus elements that I’ve used, along with my commentary on these elements. In today’s video (embedded at the end of this post), I focus on how my students have influenced my syllabus creation process.

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Designing the First Week of a College Class (Workbook)

Here’s a video all about the theme for the next five weeks of my blog! Not a video watcher? I recap the content in this post, too. Here’s the link to access the workbook, if you don’t already have access to our resource library.

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Resources for New College Instructors (Round-Up)

Summer is moving quickly and lesson planning for the new semester will start soon enough (if it hasn’t already). As I’ve been blogging about teaching tips, tools, and resource for over a year now, I thought I’d help give new readers an easy resource to use to get started on their semester prep. If you’re one of the many new college instructors entering the classroom in the fall or are just looking for some fresh ideas, here’s my list of top blog posts with tons of advice and resources.

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How to Teach Writing without the 5-Paragraph Essay

While teaching the five-paragraph essay might be necessary in high school English courses that seem to (unfortunately) run on standardized testing, college writing instructors could use a more realistic approach when teaching writing. Once outside the school setting, five paragraph essays aren’t exactly in high demand. At ISU, our (award-winning) writing program takes a rhetorical genre studies approach to teaching writing in order to better help prepare our students for their future writing responsibilities and interests.

Rather than focus our courses on writing essays and going through grammar drills, our students practice researching various rhetorical genres. While completing writing projects, they also work to articulate what they’ve learned about these genres, how they’ve learned this information, and how they can use these new skills and knowledge in situations outside the classroom. In today’s post, I describe how I teach writing using a theoretical framework that helps my students analyze the texts around them and their own writing experiences. 

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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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