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As a semester comes to an end, there are a few tasks that I recommend completing as a college instructor. With how busy this last month or so gets, I thought it’d be helpful to share a list of these activities along with a list of resources that can help you accomplish them without much additional effort. I’ve also created a checklist with these resources, which can be found in our resource library. But for now, let’s talk about some activities that will help you have a great semester’s end.
If You’re Still Planning Course Activities:
You might be reading this post far enough in advance to make changes to the activities included at the end of your courses. If that’s the case, here are a few resources that might interest you.
If you’re looking to make your students’ final project more interesting than a research or analysis paper, here are five ideas of multimodal projects to offer your students.
If you’re going with the tradition final exam but are teaching online, here’s a tutorial on creating an exam using the Test and Quizzes tool in Sakai’s learning management system (LMS). I would guess that you have a similar tool in your LMS, even if you don’t use Sakai. If you want more LMS help, here’s a tutorial of some basic and more advanced uses of this tool.
HOW TO CREATE A COURSE ASSESSMENT (BLOG POST)
Here’s a list of seven sections I include in my course assessments, along with sample questions. This activity is a great way to get actually useful feedback from your students about the course and your teaching. I assign it during the last week of class.
If you’d rather watch me talk about course assessments, I have a video version of the above blog post. It’s actually the first video I created for my YouTube channel.
Reflecting on the Semester:
Reflecting on your teaching experiences is one of the best ways of improving as a teacher. So, here are some questions you can ask yourself or activities you can complete in order to get to the bottom of what works and doesn’t work in your teaching life.
23 TEACHER REFLECTION QUESTIONS (BLOG POST)
I have a Google Slides presentation of these questions, which you can find in this post and in my resource library. You don’t need to answer them all, but I wanted to provide a comprehensive list. If these questions are too much for you, the video below includes only my top seven favorite questions from this list.
Keep your reflecting experience short by just answering these seven questions. I recommend writing out the answers at the end of your teaching journal, so you can keep this information easy to find in future semesters.
3 TEACHING REFLECTION ACTIVITIES (BLOG POST)
The first activity involves answering the above questions list, but I also offer two other reflective activities that aren’t as rigid as just answering a list of questions. So, if you want to try something a bit different, check out this post.
Practical Activities When the Semester Ends:
I’m all about providing practical advice. So, these resources are helpful not just if you’re teaching, but if you’re a grad student in general.
The version of self-care I talk about in this post focuses on planning your next few weeks in ways that help you mentally and physically. So if you’re a planner, this post is for you. Here’s a different kind of self-care activities post, which includes a winter break self-care challenge.
STAYING PRODUCTIVE AT THE END OF THE SEMESTER (BLOG POST)
The blog post includes the video, so you can experience both resources at once. These six quick tips can help you stay on track during the last few weeks of class, especially when finishing up final assignments and doing final grading.
Winter & Summer Break Tips and Activities:
The semester is over. What do you do next, other than (hopefully) finally relaxing? Here are some resources you might find helpful.
Summer is the usual time for getting research and writing done as an academic. So, here’s a resource for creating a writing routine. There’s a video version of this resource, too.
If you’re still in the research phase, check out this blog post instead so you can create a research routine.
Summer time means more time for exercise. To me, that means more time for podcasts. If you’re looking for podcasts tied to teaching or productivity, here are a few of my favorites.
7 WINTER BREAK ACTIVITIES FOR GRAD STUDENTS (BLOG POST)
Winter break is much shorter than summer break, but there are still some activities I suggest completing during those few weeks. Here’s a list to go through.
USE A DIGITAL BULLET JOURNAL TO STAY ORGANIZED (ONLINE COURSES)
Whether you use the free mini digital bullet journal or the full-fledged one that comes with my full online course, summer break in particular is a great time to experiment with a new way of staying organized. Here’s a video on why I prefer digital bullet journals to paper ones. But you don’t need to take my word for it. You can try one for free.
After realizing just how much content I’ve created that ties into what to do as the semester ends, I knew that this post needed to be added to my blog. It’s so much faster than trying to find all of them in my blog and YouTube libraries! Now, if you want to take this list of resources on the go, I created a PDF checklist and added it to the resource library. If you don’t have access yet, you can sign up here. All extra content tied to my blog can be found in the library.