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Teaching & Learning Resources at Camosun: New to teaching

Welcome to Camosun!

Your department will provide you with administrative support, course outlines, resources, and information about other supports within your department. However, you may still have questions about how to teach effectively and develop your teaching style. 

As you get started teaching, you may wonder:

  • What is my teaching style?
  • How do I create a respectful learning environment?
  • What are effective strategies for facilitating group work?
  • What technologies should I use?
  • How do I keep learners motivated and interested?

In addition to the ideas on this page make sure that you also check out the New Employee Portal for general helpful information to get you started at Camosun.

 

Course management essentials

Course outline

Your course outline guides you and your students throughout the term. Dedicate some time before classes start to develop a comprehensive course outline.

Plan your weekly/daily lessons

  • Courses can run in either 3-hour blocks once a week, 80-minute blocks twice a week, or 50-minute blocks three times a week, depending upon the program and scheduling.
  • Recent research has shown that learner attention spans range between 10-20 minutes. We learn better when we hear, do and discuss/share. For some active learning techniques, check out our set of active learning cards, a video sharing examples of how to incorporate active learning,  and Camosun's Applied Learning website.
  • One of the lesson plan templates commonly used is B.O.P.P.P.S. (Bridging, Outcome, Pre-test, Participatory, Post-test, Summary). To learn more about and practice B.O.P.P.P.S., sign up for an ISW (Instructional Skills Workshop).
  • Schedule community resources to enhance the learning experience. For instance, if you want to bring in guest speakers or take students on a field trip, check with your department chair about honoraria/gifts, policies and procedures.
  • Use current articles and resource materials in the classroom. Check copyright and permission to use resources with Camosun's Copyright Advisor. Here's a quick guide.
  • Identify your textbook or consider textbook alternatives. Keep in mind cost, privacy, accessibility, quality etc. Requests are coordinated through your department and requisitions are submitted at least 2 months prior to term start. More information about ordering textbooks.
  • Include college resources and support service information to help students. For instance, the Library can help students with referencing styles for writing while Audio-Visual Services can loan equipment to students so they can complete a multi-media assignment.

Resources to help you get started

First day of class

Everyone is a bit nervous on the first day. This is a great opportunity for you to set the tone, establish rapport and involve learners from the start.

Setting the tone is reflected in how you:

  • physically set-up the classroom
  • share information in various ways
  • start and end on time
  • convey your attitude and desire of the content

Establishing rapport starts off with introductions, getting to know your students’ names, sharing a bit about yourself, and letting them know your teaching style. The following links have some ideas and icebreakers for first day of class activities that are fun and also help to create a climate for learning. Some can be used throughout the term to re-energize the classroom.

Ideas for first day of class activities

Use your course outline to guide your first class. Discuss assignments, expectations, and finalize key dates.

Involve learners by engaging in content right away, don’t leave it for the next class. There are various activities, pre-assessments, and reflective exercises you can run the first day to assess prior knowledge. Start building your community of learners on the first day.


Classroom management

Juggling the mechanics of teaching - content, assignments, assessments and feedback - also includes building a community of learners. Here are some items to consider:

Inclusivity

  • Learn names and pronounce them correctly.
  • When appropriate, infuse relevancy and life skills into the content – bring in your experiences and ask learners to share theirs.
  • When setting up your teaching strategy, remember that learners incorporate information in different ways (visual, auditory, interactive) and at various rates.

Collaboration

  • Encourage feedback at strategic moments (i.e. mid-term, before new content, prior to testing) to ensure goals and expectations are being met.
  • Liberating Structures: Strategies to support engagement, collaboration, creative thinking, and learning.
  • Encourage time for reflection of content and processes. Check in with learners if questions arise.
  • Involve active learning techniques to enable learners to ‘practice’ new knowledge.

Interaction

  • Model ideal behaviour – structure class to enable time for breaks, social interactions, discussions, assessments and collaborative work.
  • Speak clearly so all learners can hear and understand you.
  • Vary the tone of your voice to build interest, minimize the use of slang and jargon, use silent pauses to hold interest and practice non-verbal cues to guide interactions in the classroom.
  • Minimize distractions – set up some time management devices (e.g. ways to hand back assignments, notices, announcements) so content and active learning exercise time is maximized.

Last day of class

Just as the beginning of the term often feels stressful, the end of the term can feel equally chaotic.

Rather than ending the last class with only administrative details (e.g. due dates, exam schedule, course evaluation), consider the following:

Use the course outline as a review device

  • Where did we start and where have we ended?
  • How has your personal knowledge of the content changed?

Ask students to share some lasting thoughts on what was most relevant to them.

You could either:

  • lead a round-table discussion
  • have learners reflect by creating a ‘letter to future students’

Use the last class to prepare for the final exam or assignment

  • answer outstanding questions and review relevant information

Thank your learners for the opportunity to share your knowledge/expertise with them

In this article, faculty talk about the importance of closure and offer some hands-on techniques to bring your course and community of learners to a close at the end of the semester/quarter.

 

The journey of a faculty member in post secondary education

Student engagement and learning: Engaging students in meaningful experiences through strategies focusing on successful student learning. This part of the journey is focused on an educator making changes to practice that result in changes to student engagement and learning through a set of new strategies, methods, and/or activities.

Design of learning experiences: Designing classes and courses that provide students with authentic and deep learning opportunities. This part of the journey is focused on the educator making changes to practice that result in significant changes in student learning through innovative design of a course or many courses.

Scholarly reflection and inquiry: Demonstrating excellence in scholarly teaching practices, critical reflections on practice, and inquiry into enhancing student learning. this part of the journey demonstrates development of self and an enabling of colleagues to engage in continual professional learning and scholarly activity.

Leadership and community: Engaging in leadership, community engagement and contributions to teaching and learning across the institution and to the discipline while working to create more inclusive and engaged classrooms. This part of the journey is about influence and dissemination of new knowledge to peers and to the wider campus community.

Explanation: Faculty have a journey that is much like an infinity circle: often looping around and around as they progress through the various stages of their career. Many faculty begin focusing on engaging students in learning about course components. Engaging students requires making changes to their practice and trying out new strategies, activities or ideas. After sometime, faculty members may look at the design of learning from a larger point of view. They may focus on how their course fits within the program or consider redesigning parts of or all parts of a course. The student engagement and design of learning stages might continue for several years oscillating back and forth. At some point, faculty members start looking at their practice from a scholarly reflection and inquiry point of view. They may invite colleagues in to their classes for a peer observation activity or they may begin gathering evidence of student learning and consider publicly sharing their successes and failures. Scholarly reflection sometimes leads to faculty taking on leadership roles to onboard and mentor new colleagues, lead a program redesign initiative, or undertake an institutional role in enhancing teaching and learning. This is often characterized by faculty wanting to share and learn beyond their own program. They also might take on leadership roles in provincial and national teaching and learning communities.

https://licensebuttons.net/l/by-sa/3.0/88x31.png Creative Commons License: CC BY-SA 4.0   | Liesel Knaack, Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning | Vancouver Island University (2017)