Happy first week of classes! We are excited about sharing a host of early-semester opportunities along with some tips for promoting office hours and other resources for student success:
- The importance of office hours and instructor contact. We may take an awareness of the purpose of office hours for granted, but it is important to remember that this is not the case for all students. Furthermore, we know about the critical importance of ongoing faculty and student interactions from the literature on student success, and the concern over persistence is particularly acute for students from marginalized backgrounds. While it can be tempting to rely on a line in our syllabi and a brief word on the first day of class to convey expectations for using office hours effectively, the reality is that students need more (and more specific) encouragement to make use of that resource.
- Give them a nudge with suggested topics. Of course, we don’t want students to come to us without purpose, but sometimes they need help with identifying the types of questions and concerns that are appropriate for bringing to you in office hours. To that end, try ending a few early class sessions with a review of key topics that you link to types of office hours questions that might arise. The point of emphasis here is that office hours are not outlets for last-minute panic about an assignment, but a regular part of successful navigation of a course. This practice doesn’t eliminate procrastination-related anxiety, but it models productive student skills while achieving your own objectives related to reviewing content. If you are looking for more ideas related to office hour participation, we encourage you to check out this helpful advice column response to Professor “All By My Lonesome” from Vanderbilt University with additional links to resources.
- Highlight other campus resources to get them Centered. As you continue to introduce keys to success in the first week of class, take some time to highlight different campus resources that you think may be particularly helpful in your course – such as the Student Success Center, Counseling Center, Writing Center, or Speaking Center – or, better yet, resources that students have told you that they found useful in the past! As with the above tips, this practice can be particularly helpful from students from marginalized identity groups or backgrounds, but all students will benefit from an awareness of resources and that their instructor cares about the various ways that they can be successful at UNCG.
You don’t have to be an expert on all of the resources available to students, but even offering a few general suggestions at the beginning of the semester can help your students know that you are attentive to the variety of potential challenges that they may have throughout the semester, which can help to establish an inclusive learning environment. For example, you might want to share with students about the new caregiver study space in Jackson Library for students, staff, and faculty who need to work or study with small children. For questions about the new space, you can visit the reference desk on the main floor of the library.
Check out more here: Past Teaching Tips
We need your input!
The UTLC will soon be building on the Teaching Tips format to include a podcast focused on more in-depth responses to the common questions and concerns faced by UNCG faculty. If you have something in mind that you want the UTLC to address, we invite you to send topics or specific questions to us at email@example.com, and stay tuned for the first episode of the podcast!
This semester, we add some tips from UNCG Libraries to our regularly scheduled programming! These tips are designed to help you better use the resources available through the libraries to achieve your teaching and learning goals. Did you know that UNCG’s Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has an extensive online World War I Pamphlet Collection? As this month is the 101st anniversary of the United States’ involvement in the Great War, we would like to bring this collection to the forefront! These pamphlets were issued by governments of US allies and contain information ranging from first-hand accounts of wartime conditions, battle maps, photographs, and brochures that involve soldiers’ postwar rehabilitation efforts. These online primary sources are well suited for class projects that involve the history of World War I, government efforts to sway public opinion on the homefront to support the war, and the psychology of conflict. Please contact SCUA if you would like further information about how to incorporate this wonderful collection into your class curriculum.