Reply To: New Year’s Teaching Resolutions

Zoe Cohen

New Years’ Teaching Resolutions: I think this time of year is a wonderful time to think about the past year…and come up with ways to improve in the new semester. So…other than increasing my intake of fruits and vegetables, my New Years’ Resolutions revolve around my teaching!
Last semester, I taught in a Collaborative Learning Space at the University of Arizona. It was a very eye-opening experience for both me and my students (mostly Juniors and Seniors) in terms of how to get used to discussing topics, where in the past I just stood at the front and lectured. This semester, I’m in a normal stadium style classroom, but would like to add some of the active learning practices I used last semester (it’s a different topic…but same level of students). I’m still working on the logistics but would love to hear how others incorporate active learning in a regular (large) classroom.
My other course is a smaller colloquium…where I’m planning on using a modified Jigsaw design (that I learned about doing the ACUE pilot study). Julianne, perhaps we can help each other here…my course is based on reading material (lay articles, review articles and basic science articles) and discussing them…the hardest part for me is making sure all students contribute substantially…First, I have it in my syllabus (that comments such as “I agree” don’t get points)…I also use name tags (that sit on the table in front of each student)…because I’ve found that if a student says “I agree with her”…it’s not as meaningful as when a student says “I agree with George”… In terms of questions (from me)…it’s a little more fluid…I see what the students come up with…and hopefully am able to add questions to keep the conversations flowing!
Good luck to all on the New Semester!!