U-CLaSS meeting with Posse Program (Nov 2, 2023)

In this session, students in the Posse Program shared their thoughts, ideas, and suggestions about the following three topics they selected:
  1. How instructors can bridge the gap between themselves as experts and students as novices in their class.
  2. Advice on how instructors can reach out to students.
  3. Tips from the student perspective that will help them learn in your courses.

What students say about instructors as experts

Teach new concepts in a truly step by step fashion, make sure you start with the basics, and make sure you identify each step. Make sure you as the expert are not passing over steps that you know, but that the students may not be aware are involved in the process.

Be careful about going off on expert level tangents during lecture. If you do decide to include information not directly related to the content at hand, make sure you know that students will be able to understand that expert content. More importantly, make sure that anything you discuss that is a tangent to the course content does not end up on an assignment or exam. Those tangents you present won’t be covered in discussions led by teaching assistants, and if you teach a course with multiple sections and instructors that share the same exam those tangents won’t be covered for those students.

Reaching out

Survey students before setting office hours so that the times you offer will work for you as the instructor, but also for as many students as possible in the class.

Students want to be able to connect directly with their professors about course content, not just the teaching assistants for the class.

Student Learning

Survey students at the start of class to find out what they may already know, and more importantly what they may not know, or may have misunderstandings about that you can then emphasize and/or correct when teaching the class.

Be mindful of “balance” in your course. Consider the balance within your course between assignments and exams. Consider the balance between workload in your class and other courses in your major, and be aware that students are taking other classes as well.

Consider providing study guides or practice problems. Problems should be similar to what will be on exams.

No class should be assessed only with exams.

Students welcome activities in class as opportunities to use what they need to learn.

Provide short pauses during class.

In cases where multiple instructors teach different sections of the same course but all use the same exam, make sure that everyone covers the same material that is on the test.

The format of assessment should match the type of questions you ask, and answers you expect. If you expect specific answers you should ask specific questions rather than broad essay questions.