Getting to Know Your Students
For the Fall 2017 semester CTLE will post a weekly teaching tip that you can easily incorporate into your teaching. Tips will address various topics, e.g. student engagement, assessment, grading, use of technologies, etc. If you have a specific topic or challenge you would like us to address, please post the request in the comment box below or send to email@example.com.
This week’s teaching tip is one that I use in all of my classes and requires little or no effort. Have each of your students post a short biographical sketch with a photo of their choice in Moodle using the advanced forum function with a “standard forum display in a blog-like format”. The instructions might read “ In this forum write a short biographical sketch and be sure to include something memorable about yourself and e a recent photo, a selfie is fine. Be sure to place your biographical sketch in the forum box so they can be compiled. Post your bio-sketch by adding a new topic”.
I generally give students a week to post to their biographical sketch. You can incentivize by awarding a few participation points or simply reminding students that it is a course expectation. Once the due date has past you can compile the posts by copying and pasting then in bulk to a Word document. To encourage and reward student I generally make a few comments regarding the post at the of one or two classes, e.g. I really like the post from____, ____has an interesting post. This serves to remind students that you actually look at the forum, you can also comment in the forum on individual post.
The advantages are you and the class learns something about each individual, students get writing practice in a low stakes learning activity and most importantly it helps to establish a sense of community.
To be fair I post my biographical sketch with a photo. This helps students to see me as a person in addition to being their professor and provides a model of what a good sketch looks like. Most student have not written a biographical sketch, which as professional we all need to be able to do. You may want to designate a minimal or max number of words and the size (mb) of the photo.
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