News Roundup: Preparing for Midsemester

Midsemester -acue.org
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This week, professors offer suggestions for teaching midsemester, such as providing materials to prepare students for receiving their first big grade and remembering to focus on the student experience when taking over a course from another instructor.

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Making It Okay to Ask for Help
Because many freshmen are discouraged by their first “big” grade in college, Natasha Jankowski advises faculty to prepare students early by giving quizzes, sharing examples of well-written papers, and providing grading rubrics. (The Chronicle of Higher Education Teaching Newsletter)


Once Reviled, Wikipedia Now Embraced by Many Professors
Wikipedia has become a teaching tool for many instructors. Robert Cummings, for one, tasks students with writing entries as a reminder that college involves producing information as well as consuming it and notes that Wikipedia promotes collaboration and fact verification. (EdSurge)


Should College Professors Give ‘Tech Breaks’ in Class?
Probing the issue of college students’ dependence on technology, Barbara King wonders whether “tech breaks”—short periods during class when students may check their phones—might encourage them to better focus on lessons. (NPR.org)


Taking Over a Class Mid-Semester
When instructors replace colleagues midway through a course, they should try to limit the impact on students, Jason Jones advises. He suggests focusing on the student experience over the instructor’s by getting to know students as quickly as possible and not altering the syllabus or reading list too much. (ProfHacker)


Do We Kill the Liberal Arts When We Demonize People for Their Ideas?
People learn less when their views go unchallenged, Wesleyan University President Michael Roth writes. He urges institutions to hire faculty with political, intellectual, and cultural differences, which will encourage students to think about what they believe. (The Hechinger Report)


When You Don’t Want to Do the Writing
To relieve the tedium of dull writing assignments, John Warner suggests faculty encourage students to “embrace their inner curmudgeons” and view these assignments as opportunities to express their values. (Just Visiting)


Building Community Through a Syllabus
Z Nicolazzo created the #TransingHigherEdSyllabus to promote work related to transgender populations in higher education. Pushing for more gender-expansive environments and opportunities, the syllabus also serves as an educational tool for cisgender people. (Inside Higher Education)


Partner News

University of Detroit Mercy: ReBUILDetroit offers faculty course in effective teaching practices (ReBUILDetroit)


University of Southern Mississippi: USM Partners with Universities on Advanced Economic Development Program (Southern Miss Now)


Connecticut State Colleges and Universities: Community college merger plan unveiled (CT Post)

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