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Recovering from the Hurrication

Irma mostly spared our trees, but battered the fall calendar, so we’re all scrambling to figure out how to make up lost contact hours. When you’re reassessing your fall syllabus to determine what you might trim or shift, it will be helpful to review or refine your learning goals for the course. What do you really want students to be able to do by the end of the course? What kinds of thinking should they have honed? How should they be changed by their time with you? Once you’ve distilled your priorities for what students need to master, you’ll be able to identify content and activities that do (and don’t) move them toward achieving your most important goals.

If you need to move some material online, the more rote or procedural work will be the best place to start: students can acquire basic vocabulary and concepts independently--from reading, or an online lecture, or a video. They need you when they’re tackling the more challenging tasks, like application and deeper analysis, and when they need your feedback on their practice. Your precious class time can be reserved to help to guide their thinking, with case studies, follow-up questions, and so forth.

Juggling the schedule is not the most important repair we have to make, though. Students whose homes and families were in the path of the hurricane may be stressed and anxious, or even traumatized, and everyone will have been thrown for a loop by the scare, and the disruption. It will be important for us to acknowledge this, and deal humanely with students’ fears and exigencies (The CTE at Rice University offered useful suggestions after Harvey). The lost week happened just when classes were starting to gel, so classroom community will have suffered, also. Facilitating meaningful interaction amongst your students will help the class to regain lost momentum. Since we’re all (students and faculty alike) feeling distracted, it may also be useful to use tips like James Lang’s great suggestions for focusing students’ attention at the start of class.

You don’t have to tackle these challenges alone: join us next week for an open-house resource session at Strozier Library, offered in collaboration by CAT, the Library Office of Digital Research and Scholarship, and ODL. We can help you distill your learning goals, plan community-building work, determine what material could best be conveyed online, identify online resources, help you select and use a range of online tools, and more.

The Hurrication-Recovery Clinic will take place in Strozier 107 K, on Thursday, September 28, from 10-4. Feel free to drop in at any time.

We look forward to working with you.

Sign up now for FALL 2017 Faculty Reading Groups!

What The Best College Teachers Do
Tuesdays, 9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 2:00-4:00 pm

How Learning Works
Wednesdays, 9/27, 10/4, 10/11, 12:00-2:00 pm

Learner Centered Teaching
Tuesdays, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 12:00-2:00 pm

Make It Stick
Mondays, 10/9, 10/16, 10/23, 2:00-4:00 pm

Now You See It
Wednesdays, 11/1, 11/8, 11/15, 12:00-2:00 pm

Lunch will be provided at the noon meetings; coffee and snacks will be provided at the afternoon meetings. To RSVP, just email and we’ll send you your copy of the book.