CTE

Use Classroom Assessment Techniques

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Teaching Tips II: 101 Things You Can Do The First Four Weeks of Class

Adapted from an article by Joyce Povlacs Lunde
Teaching and Learning Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
UCTL Number 2 August 1998

Introduction

Beginnings are important. Whether you are teaching a large introductory course for freshmen or an advanced course for majors, it makes good sense to start the semester off well. Students decide very early whether they like the course, its contents, the teacher, and their fellow students.

Here are some ideas to help you create the best possible environment for learning early in the course. The first four weeks of a course are especially important, studies say, in retaining capable students. Remember, even after the syllabus is fixed you can usually make adjustments.

These ideas may:

  • help students make the transition from high school or summer activities to college;
    direct students' attention to the immediate situation for learning;
    spark intellectual curiosity;
    help students learn the unique aspects of your discipline;
    encourage the students' active involvement in learning;
  • build a sense of community in the classroom.