Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Kresge Library, Room 430
100 Library Drive
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4479
(location map)
(248) 370-2751
[email protected]

text reading teaching in 10 words and speech bubble

Teaching in 10 Words: Reflections from OU Faculty

Mon Nov 15, 2021 at 07:30 AM

OU faculty have shared their Teaching in 10 Words, somehow distilling their diligent, thoughtful, and caring pedagogy into one line of text. This reflection activity comes during what will likely have been the most disruptive time in teaching, and this reflection activity shows that while our teaching has had to change in its format and expectations, the core values of our teaching have likely remained constant. Some faculty who shared their 10 words have expanded on those 10 words. View all 10-word submissions.

Learners are the true captains on our voyage of discovery.

Phyllis White, Music, Theatre, and Dance

In my view, when someone is a true captain, they are loyally in charge of their own embodied learning. True captains wear the coat of personal responsibility as an honor that helps others. In my view, when someone is on a voyage, they are traveling a long distance with goals of milestone and destination clearly established. In my view, when someone is engaging in discovery, they are learning by doing, making the unfamiliar welcomed, and the newly known applied and shared. In this metaphor, and always, learner agency is my pedagogical North Star.

Learning from one another what each needs to tackle life.

Melissa Vervinck, ESL Institute

Learning is a complex process that happens each and every day for everyone - students and educators. The lessons taught in my classroom have clear objectives and learning outcomes, but I want students to learn more than what I have explicitly stated or even what I know. After all, I am not the only one with knowledge in the room. They have it, too. I love it when someone shares what they know, and my response is, "Really, I never knew that!  Thank you for sharing!" On top of that, I want them to learn how to think critically, get along with others, learn from their mistakes, tackle difficult problems, and evaluate their own successes. These are all skills that they will need to handle whatever problems life throws at them well after they have completed a course with me. Skills that I continue to hone, too.

Keep your course site organized with a structure that's easy to follow.

Amy Rutledge, Management Information Systems

Students tell me they like the way I structure our Moodle course page because it's easy to follow and nearly the same each week. I teach both online and face-to-face classes. For each week in an online course, I provide a short (around 5-minute) video that outlines the work to be completed for the week and discusses some of the most common sticking points for the topics. Each weekly section includes titles (using Moodle labels) which are (nearly) the same every week. For example: Readings and Lectures, Discussion Forums, Homework Assignments. I keep the due dates the same for these activities each week, Thursdays for readings and basic activities, and Sundays for everything else.  I add the due date into the label for readings as well assignments. I also add length of time to the label if it's a video or Moodle book which contains multiple videos. The students know approximately how long they will need to spend on each activity. I informally survey my students and ask them how long it took them to complete various assignments and put an approximate time for each assignment. For some assignments, I can pull a report in the system that tells me the actual average time. A student can look at the week's section on Monday and see the big picture and plan the week accordingly. (See an image of how Amy organizes her courses.)

Flipped. Custom textbook. Formative feedback. Individual attention. Flexible. Fun.

Kieran Mathieson, Decision Information Systems

I teach programming, and other skill courses. Exercises are central to skill building. Students do best with individual feedback on their programs. That means reading their code, and using rubrics to give each student a list of things they did right and wrong on each exercise. To manage the load, I wrote grading software optimized for fast feedback. Students also need one-on-one help, when they get stuck on exercises, or need ideas explained. Flipped courses work well, where class is not for lectures, but for individual help, and group exercises. Flipped courses demand high quality reading material. I write my own custom textbook-like-things, matching exactly what is needed for each course. The feedback, authoring, and other tools are gathered together in my open source software Skilling.

Engage, prepare and motivate students for a rewarding learning experience!

Subha Bhaskaran, Biological Sciences

There are several approaches to create a rewarding learning experience for the students inside and outside of a classroom (online/in-person). Following are the three approaches that I incorporate. First approach is to engage students by interacting with them during lectures, promoting discussions among their peers and involving them in projects that can benefit them as well as the community. The second approach is to prepare the students in such a way that they have the ability to effectively comprehend the material learned in a classroom setting and also be able to apply in a professional setting. Preparation can also be geared towards understanding time-management skills which is critical as students navigate through various courses/training processes. The third approach is to consistently motivate the students to do their best and make them aware that mistakes can happen. It is important for the students to learn from their mistakes as it can help value their learning process and also make them look for more opportunities/avenues to pursue.

Begin with connecting, caring, and listening. Then learning can occur.

Beth Feiten, School of Education and Human Services

I have seen multiple examples of teachers that excelled at connecting, caring and listening to their students. It is hard to discern who benefits the most. Is it the teachers who then reaped the benefits through the school year and beyond with students who were more engaged and motivated? Or is it the student who works harder because they feel someone truly cares and believes in them? This ability to build strong rapport in the classroom can foster higher levels of student engagement and positive social behavior, as well as help teachers connect with parents and other caregivers. My beliefs hold true in higher education. When students stumble, feeling supported and cared for can mean the difference between completing a program and dropping out of school. A personal connection and a conversation are much more powerful than a list of resources to a student who is struggling with anxiety or facing trauma in their lives. Connect, care and listen to your students. You will both benefit.

Save and adapt a Google Doc version of this teaching tip.

Others may share and adapt under Creative Commons License CC BY-NCView all CETL Weekly Teaching Tips. Follow these and more on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.