Rock Your First Day of Class!

In writing this tip, I kept reflecting on various ‘first’ days that I experienced, both as an educator and a student. So much is happening on this first day! Everything from excitement, to fear, to curiosity.  As I leave my office and head to the first day of class in a new semester, I often have emotions that feel just like the first time that I taught the class. I am nervous but excited. As a student, I get these very same feelings.

How can we tap into these feelings and really set the stage for the learning experience? Check out some brief tips: Rock Your First Day of Class!

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Blended Public Speaking Course

It has been a journey creating this learning experience for my public speaking students. Each of them has been a part of this creation and I am excited to share this course publicly through creative commons licensing in Canvas. It is a blend of face-to-face and online elements that support engaging opportunities for students to practice critical digital skills as a community of learners. Please click the homepage image below to view the course.

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Eleven Things You Should Never Say During a Presentation

Bravo! These 11 things really spoke to me in Marr’s (2017) post on Eleven Things Your Should Never Say During a Presentation.

As someone who teaches a required class on public speaking to college freshman, I remind them that everything they say impacts their credibility to the particular audience.   While their audience includes their peers, it is a great opportunity to practice for other audiences.  “I didn’t have much time”, or “I am running out of time” are better left unsaid.  My other big point is to remind them that the intro and conclusion are critical.  The “attention getter” at the beginning should do just that; grab attention.  Same with the conclusion – don’t tell the audience “now I am done”. If you have a good “clincher” the audience will know you are done. Being mindful of the ‘filler words’ is important, but also know that we are humans and a few ‘ums’ or ‘ers’ is not going to ruin the whole speech.

The Student Who Has Disappeared…

A colleague of mine recently asked me for tips on what to do when an online student stops logging into the course. Unfortunately, this is a familiar situation even in a face-to-face course.

Here are a few best practices for connecting to and/or motivating online students:

  • First and foremost, begin with building community in your course from day 1. This starts with an icebreaker that and continues in many ways throughout the course. Read: Social Interaction and Presence in the Online Classroom
  • Pedagogically, I recommend using groups/teams to build community and build in accountability to the team.  Feeling a ‘sense of community’ is rated very highly by students who are persistent in online learning (Diep, Cocquyt, Zhu, & Vanwing, 2016).
  • By day 3 of the course, send personal email to each student who has not logged in and tell them you “miss them” and want to be sure they are not missing out on what their peers are saying/doing.
  • Throughout course, check the Learning Management System (LMS) logs frequently to ensure students are logging in daily (esp in summer course). If they have not logged in within last 48 hours, send them a personal note.
  • Encourage students to add their cell phone number to their LMS profile to receive class announcements/emails via SMS (text) to their phone (optional of course).
  • Integrate real-time (synchronous) time. Facilitate a 1-1 session with each student; have them sign up from a selection of various times/days.
  • Contact your Dean of Students Office (or similar) to report your concerns for the student.

Again, these are many of the same best practices we apply in the face-to-face environment. (Note that summer session is typically a very different “semester” due to summer and compressed time frame.)

Resources:

Diep, N.A., Cocquyt, C., Zhu, C., & Vanwing, T. (2016). Predicting adult learners’ online participation: Effects of altruism, performance expectancy, and social capital. Computers & Education, 101, 84-101.