U-CLaSS: Posse Program Students Share (Apr 17, 2023)

Posse Program students share their perceptions about, and suggestions for,teaching and learning.

  • Remember that while we are in one course with you, we are taking other courses, as well as balancing life, work, and other issues. We are thinking about GPA as a whole, which means we will often focus more attention on courses that aren’t going well for us which sometimes impacts our work in courses that are going well.
  • Providing the opportunity to drop an assignment, quiz, or activity grade can be very helpful when trying to balance our education, work, and life issues. Any type of flexibility in work required for a course can be helpful. Providing this flexibility cuts down on our fear of failure because we know we have the opportunity to balance our course work with the rest of our life issues if needed.
  • Let students know that they can feel comfortable contacting you about their life situations when necessary.
  • Classes that work best for us are those that balance the teaching of facts with teaching well, and including fun or interesting components in the course work, linking concepts to the real world, or providing material that will motivate us to learn. Understanding why we are learning something and showing us how this material will be useful beyond the course is very helpful. If possible, show us why we should care or show us the end goals for why we need to learn the material.
  • We enjoy class more when the instructor explains and teaches us the material as opposed to being expected to learn the material only from the textbook. We prefer courses where the textbook is a supplement to the course, and the classroom is focused on the learning objectives presented by the instructor where we do the learning in class.
  • When teaching lower level courses, keep in mind that the pace of college is much faster than what we experienced in high school. In high school we spent a full school year in a course compared to the 14 weeks in a college semester, or even less than that during summer session courses. In high school we were treated like toddlers, but in college in some cases we feel like we are expected to function like 30 year olds, even though we are closer in age to high school students. This is not just our first time attending college, but our first experience of academia in general.
  • Students are most burned out by the end of the semester, but that’s when most classes are the hardest, and may have the most material due, including big projects, cumulative exams and so on. Taking a course is like running a marathon, you get tired by the end.
  • Students are more engaged in a class when the instructor is having fun teaching the class.
  • Provide chances to use what we need to learn.
  • When an individual course is taught by more than one instructor, and work/exams in the course are cumulative, it is helpful when all instructors for the course can answer questions regarding all course content even if taught by one of the other instructors.
  • Students often feel that coming to office hours can be intimidating so do what you can to make office hours feel more approachable.

Advice for attendance issues:

• Remind us that taking notes by hand in class helps students learn better than reading a textbook or watching a video.
• Structure a course so that it includes examples that illustrate the importance of participation and show that coming to class is helpful.
• Don’t just read off the slides.
• Don’t just repeat what we’ve already read in the textbook. Go beyond the textbook and we’ll attend lecture more.
• Create pull for students to attend rather than push students to attend.

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