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Teaching Excellence Center

Circle Summaries November 1998

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Monday 4:00 Session A (no summary)

Monday 4:00 Session B (no summary)


Tuesday 8:30 Session

Strategies for helping students write better papers: review examples of student and professional writing rather than just directing students to look up writing samples; analyze examples of student writing for strengths and weaknesses; follow up with in-class writing assignment(s) require students to revise / rewrite a paper.

Tuesday 12:00 Session

Our discussion began with requesting a volunteer to become the new facilitator in the Spring. Marty Turnage volunteered if the past facilitator, Melane McCuller, would help. Melane graciously agreed.

With finals upon us, we discussed the advantages or disadvantages of a review for students.

1. Review expectations -

We all agreed that the student wants a review to find out what will be on the test. One student was ambitious enough to notice and count how often some information was covered by the teacher. The student discovered that if the teacher repeated information twice during the review that it was a test question.

Faculty want to review so that students can get the information the teacher wants them to know from the course and to answer questions from students who do not understand the course content.

2. Approaches to Review -

Faculty should request students to come prepared for the review. Require at least 5 questions from a student when they come or request questions through e-mail.

A listserv review could be set up for a dynamic discussion of the material covered during the semester or archive the continual discussion of class memebers from the outset. Create a listserv at the beginning of the semester to solicit participation from students then archive the information for a review.

Review could be led by the students if they had to work in groups through the semester. Moreover, if students did peer review of projects or paper during the semester, a final review could be directed by the groups.

In-class or out-of-class reviews were then discussed. Attendance might be a problem with out-of-class. Certainly, some students would have conflicts. Out-of-class would take another hour out of the teacher's work day as well.

Some faculty use an outline for a review. Students could fill in the blanks from an outline which would help their memory processes.

Some faculty might use a review at the end of each class period for 3 minutes. This seems to be out of favor with most because it is not enough time to get all students questions answered.

Other faculty try to keep a flow of information by beginning the class with a discussion of the preceding lecture and then adding the new information.

3. Library assignments -

We discussed the type of library assignments required. Some faculty want their students to be able to identify where the journals are located in the library, describe an article that the student selects from a journal, use the subject of that article to find other in an index, then go to the internet and find web sites.

Other faculty use an annotated bibliography on a topic as a method to get students introduced to the library. Others require writing abstracts, then highlighting key words for specific audiences.

We all believe that we need to incorporate Internet information in the course content because students need a lot of guidance about evaluating web sites.

Wednesday 1:00 Session (no summary)


Wednesday 3:00 Session (no summary)

Thursday 3:15 Session

The Thursday Teaching Circle had its final meeting of the fall semester on December 3, 1998. The discussion was about "cheating" to follow the earlier presentation by Dr. Steve Davis. The discussion was provocative and productive. One of the members described the potential for using a signed ethics statement which differentiated among cheating, working together, and collaborative effort in the class room environment. Moving students around to different desks at exam time was suggested by one of the members to discourage cheating on exams. A question to answer: is there a university policy or procedure concerning cheating by the students? How is this handled? Short report --- terrific sesssion!


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