The Big Picture: How & Where Does My Class Fit?

When I first started teaching I only thought about my class. I thought about what my students needed to know and what theories or skills they needed to master to do well on assignments specific to the course I was teaching. Years later as a program chair and a member of the general education committee, I realized how important it was to consider how the courses I taught fit into a students’ program of study and future vocation.

The Big PictureHowDoes Your Class Fit-

No matter what course you are teaching, it is important to remember that it is just a piece of the overall puzzle. It is part of a students’ program. Regardless of whether it is a general education course or a course specific to the major, every course should be created with the intention to prepare students for the workforce and life beyond college. What skills can you teach in addition to the course content that will serve this purpose?

Don’t Take It Personally

When teaching courses that are a part of the general education curriculum, it is easy to become discouraged. Students enrolled in these courses may be from a variety of different majors and may not share your passion for subject matter. For example, you may be teaching an economics course, which is slated as part of the general education curriculum, which means many of your students are pursuing different majors. In order to be effective and reach all of your students, consider using a variety of examples related to different industries. Also remember critical thinking and effective communication essential skills that should be promoted in every class across all majors.

Once, a pre-med student that told me my class was irrelevant to her field of study. She considered taking my class a waste of time. This comment could have upset me, but I decided to accept the challenge, and I intentionally began to share more real-world application that was cross discipline. Examples help students to see how general education curriculum applies in their personal and professional lives. At the end of the seamster, I received a beautifully written Christmas card thanking me and sharing how she believed the information she obtained in the course would help in her future role as a doctor.

Consider Degree Progression

If you are teaching a class in your major, it is essential that you prepare the them for courses they will take later in the degree progression. Looking at the course catalog can help you to gain an understanding of what courses your students took prior to your course and what they will likely take next. I have a wonderful colleague that really works with students to improve their writing and thinking; I can always tell when students have had his class. When I hear students have had his class, I am confident that they learned essential writing skills but also were presented essential information necessary to be successful in the course I am teaching. Be the instructor that has a positive reputation for genuinely teaching the course material and preparing students for success in their classes and as a future professional in the field.

Application, Application, Application!

I am terrible at math! And when I was a college student, I believed I would never use the math skills I was being taught. I realize math is important and there are countless applications of math. I only began to see the application for math when I took college algebra (for the second time) from an instructor who made real life applications. She made math relevant, and I began to see how it applied to my life. For the first time in my life, math made sense. wall street

Many of the skills and theories students learn while they are in college will inform their future either personally or professionally, even if it’s not a part of their major. For example, a public speaking course will teach students how to effectively communicate their ideas to an audience. While the applications of your discipline may seem obvious to you, it may not be as obvious to an adolescent. The relevance and application may be unclear; therefore, it is your responsibility to share the relevance and application. Discuss this often throughout the semester!

Teach Transferable Skills

It is also important to consider how assignments can include real world relevance and application.  For example, rather than requiring that students write a paper, perhaps you modify the delivery and have students create and deliver a presentation. Obtaining numerous skills including written as well as verbal communication skills are necessary across a variety of disciplines. In my experience, students like working on projects that have real world applications because they perceive these assignments as valuable to their future. It is important to remember that you are preparing students to be productive members of society. You are preparing them to be professionals in their field, but also well-rounded individuals whose skill set is diverse. Consider ways in which you can do that while teaching them the material specific to your class.

 

Photo Credit: Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash  &Photo by Rick Tap on Unsplash

 

Practical Tips for Creating Effective Announcements

Creating EffectiveAnnouncements can be extremely beneficial in an online classroom setting. They communicate weekly expectations, information that students need to be aware of, or even act as extensions of the syllabus. This is a way to share content that is pertinent to the course or the topics that will be covered in the upcoming week.

It is important to consider how you will use announcements and when you will use announcements. If they are used too often and the information is not meaningful or helpful, students will begin to overlook them or tune them out. I post announcements at other times during the duration of the class, but I do this mid week as this ensures that announcements are not being overlooked due to students being inundated with them. 

Weekly Announcement

Each week, I like to begin with a detailed announcements that highlights weekly expectations. I begin with a brief paragraph summarizing main points that will be covered during the week. I use course objectives to develop this introduction to the week. I let student know what we will be covering and what they can look forward to learning about. Then I add a section that describe how the student should prepare for the week. I include readings and resources that they will need to read and review to be prepared. I list this first in the announcement, because students need to complete the weekly readings before they begin participating in the weekly discussions or begin the assignment. Then I provide a section that lists assignments that need to be completed within the week. In this section, I include assignment requirements, tips for completing the assignment, and sometimes I mention resources that can be used to complete the assignment – these I attach at the bottom of the announcement. Finally, a section on the discussion forum requirements is posted. I am sure to include deadlines and necessary requirements to earn full credit in the forum for the week.

Discussion Forum Requirements: Posting an announcement that clearly states the requirements that must be met when engaging in the forums for the week. This includes when to post, what to post, how much to post, etc. Posting a clear announcement that outlines the requirements can help to reduce the number of questions that are asked. It can also be used as a reference when students ask questions or dispute a grade that is associated with the forums. I find that by clearly posting the participation requirements on the first day of class, students are informed, know the expectations, and are set up for success from the start.
Tip: You may consider asking students to read the announcement and respond. You can have them respond with “I understand” or you can direct them to ask clarifying questions so that you can address them in the beginning. This also helps to reduce confusion and ensures that students have seen and hopefully read the announcement.

Important Dates: Sharing important dates, such as days that class is not in session due to holidays can help to ensure that everyone is informed. This will reduce frustration if a student asks a question and does not get an immediate response. In addition, posting the class start date (prior to the class beginning), the course ending date (the week before class ends) or dates when assignments, such as papers that require a bit more planning or group projects that require collaboration are due, can help students with proper planning and time management.

Resources: An announcement can be used to direct students to resources that will help them complete assignments or be successful in the class. You may share information about tutoring services, the library, the writing center, or career services. It is important to consider which services student may find helpful as they progress through the course. Timing is important. Post the information within the week that the resource will be the most helpful.

Effective Announcement Include_If students do not look in the syllabus regularly, then they are still able to access information that they need to be successful. I also provide links to resources, websites, readings, tools, videos, etc. that will enhance their learning experience for the week. Remind can also help to reiterate information shared in the course syllabus and in the announcements.

Related Posts: Online Teaching TipsCreating and Using Grading Rubrics

7 Practical Tips for Providing Meaningful Feedback

Seven Essential Grading TipsGrading should not be a random act. Points should not be arbitrarily assigned or deducted from students’ papers. There must be an equitable way to add or deduct points from a paper. The expectations must be expressed in the assignment directions as well as in the grading rubric. This makes grading easier, because just as students need guidance, a road map, so to speak, so do we, the instructors grading the work.

Use a Grading Rubric

The grading rubric alerts the students and the instructor to the important points a paper should contain. This is where you should focus your attention when grading; it explain how to spend your time, and how to spend it wisely, when grading.

Not too little, not too much…

Too often, I see new instructors provide WAY too much feedback or just the opposite – no feedback at all. There must be a balance. Students need feedback. This helps them to identify why they received the grade they earned. It also gives them guidance for improving future work. However, too much red on a paper can be just as unhelpful as a paper returned without any feedback. Overwhelming! Confusing!

Be Intentional

It is unnecessary and unproductive, as well as time consuming, to correct every spelling, grammatical, conventional, and mechanical error on a student’s paper. Instead, it is more constructive to select on page of the paper (usually in the middle of the paper works best), and highlight errors. Then instruct students to look for similar errors in the remainder of the paper.

Work Smarter Not Harder

Because I tend to see the same mistakes over and over again when grading, I have generated lists of general comments that I use when grading papers. This helps to save time and ensures that every student is receiving quality feedback. If you are working with a graduate assistant or grading assistant, this also help to ensure consistency of feedback being provided.

In addition to general comments that relate to formatting, organization, and mechanics, I have several comments for each assignment that specifically relate to the content for the assignment. You can quickly develop these as you grade your first few papers. Or you can use the grading rubric and develop content specific comments. I like to use Excel to store my comments. I create a new tab for each assignment for a class as well as a tab for General Comments. You can add or revise comments, over time, just like you modify and revise lesson plans, activities, and assignments.

When it comes to formatting errors, general comments about errors relating to formatting can be generated. Consider comments that you might make on the title page, reference page, headings, or in-text citation and reference formatting as you generate the list. You may also create and save comments that you frequently use.

Set Clear Expectations

One way to reduce errors is to teach or review concepts, even if you think the students were previously taught the information. Reinforcement can help to clarify expectations and reduce errors that are made.

For example: It may be helpful to introduce and teach one specific skill related to formatting each week. Then you can focus feedback on the skills you introduced.  You might begin by teaching the correct formatting of a running head and page numbers. On the assignment, students should have this part of the paper properly formatted. If they do not, make comments and deduct points from the formatting section of the grading rubric. Throughout the semester, continue to instruct on different formatting components until students have been instructed on all formatting guidelines. They should have a perfectly formatted paper by the end of the semester. This also reduces the likelihood that students will complain they were never taught proper formatting.

Provide Quality Feedback

When you deduct points from a student’s paper, it is good practice to ensure a comment was also included to help the student make corrections to future assignments. The quality of the comment can make all the difference.

Example 1

Comment:

You are missing a comma.

Or

No Comma

Better: You are missing a comma. Here is a weblink to assist you in reviewing the rules of comma use: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/607/

Remember, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when helping students make improvements. There are a lot of great resources on the web that you can provide to students. Purdue Owl is one of my favorites!

Example 2

Comment: Missing a thesis statement

Better: You are missing a thesis statement. The thesis statement guides your paper development by providing a purpose and main points that will be covered. Here is a link to help with thesis statement development: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/01/

Consider Using a Grading Tool

There are grading tools such as Type It In and Grademark to help make grading faster and more streamlined. Comments can be added into these programs to make grading more efficient. Your university may offer access to a program like this. It might be a good idea to ask other instructors to see if they use any of these programs.

7 Practical Tips for Providing Meaningful FeedbackGood feedback does not have to be time consuming. But it should be specific and provide feedback that guides corrections in future papers. You do not need to point out every error. The feedback provided and the grading rubric should complement each other and should provide students with a clear picture of why and how points were deducted.

Tips for Preventing Academic Dishonesty

Tips for Reducing Academic DishonestyStudents report cheating in many ways. And technology is making it easier and easier to do so. The Open Education Data Base (http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/8-astonishing-stats-on-academic-cheating/) cited a survey that included 30,000 students; 60% reported cheating while in college. It was also reported that cheaters have higher grade point averages than peers who do not cheat. Popular paper mill websites report receiving about 8,000 hits per day. Roughly 75-98% of students who are cheating in college were also cheating in high school. 85% of students reported that cheating is essential to their academic success.

This information as well as some experiences we had in our classes last year, lead to a discussion with colleagues about academic dishonesty. We questioned ways in which we could work to reduce this problem. Additionally, what more could and should we be doing if students are reporting cheating is essential to academic success?

What are we talking about?

When we are talking about academic dishonesty, we are focusing mainly on plagiarism and cheating on assessments, exams and quizzes, in the traditional classroom setting as well as in the online learning environment.

Do students know they are cheating?

As part of the discussion, we questioned, “do student always know they are cheating?”. This specifically applies to plagiarism. For example, when they are writing papers, do they know that they have plagiarized when they present a summary of an article, and they do not cite the source in-text. It is not simply just copying and pasting something that someone else wrote, which is what many students believe. Perhaps, being more intentional about not only teaching students what plagiarism is, but also exactly what they can do to avoid it is necessary.

How do we know?

So…how would we know if a student is cheating? For example, how do we know if a student bought a paper from an online site, especially if they are in an online setting. How can we be sure that they are buying a paper and not receiving help from the tutoring center at the school? Building relationships is one way to help to identify cheating. The more interactions we have with students in the discussion forums and through face to face conversations or conversations by phone, the better equip we are to determine if the work being submitted is similar to other interactions we are having with the student.

Technology and Cheating

Wearables have become more popular and prevalent in recent years. They are another tool that students are using to cheating. This came to our attention at the end of the semester when a student was caught using a wearable to access study material during an exam. It appeared that a resource that was given in class was on a student’s wearable and that it was being used during an assessment. After addressing the student regarding the situation, it was clear that bans on wearables would now also need to be addressed in course policies. Prior to this incident, things like cell phones, other technology, and resources were banned, but we had not specifically included wearables.

PoliciesReducing Academic Dishonesty

In some academic institutions, academic policies have not been updated in a decade or more. Therefore, there are not bans put into place or consequences written to address academic dishonesty that can occur using technology, such as wearables. As academics, we are responsible to ensure that documents that are relevant to our classes are updated regularly. If new technological advances have not been considered and included in Course Policies, we would like to encourage you to meet wth your colleagues as you prepare for the semester and revise the policies used.

Consequences 

Academics also report that they do not feel the consequences for academic dishonesty always fit the offense. Academics need to ensure that they are involved in writing policies that are put into place to reduce academic dishonesty and address it when it occurs. If students know that they will only receiving a warning, they are not as worried about cheating than if they hear they will receive a 0, get kicked out of class, or get kicked out of school. While we are not saying that kicking students out of school is the best answer, it is important that students understand the severity of cheating and that consequences deter students from participating.

Additionally, students do not feel the consequences for academic dishonesty are harsh enough. Students get really upset when they are aware that a classmate is cheating without consequence. Students, who are working hard to earn their grades, find this to be unfair, unethical, and want the peer who is cheating to be punished. They look to the professor to address the behavior and report it.

Reporting

Is the process for reporting academic dishonesty at your institution easy to access and use? Faculty may feel that reporting cheating is too tedious and too time consuming. In addition speculation is often not enough to report a situation. If they instructor does not have “hard evidence”, they may be unable to report the situation that took place. Therefore, the incident goes unreported and the student may be cheating in multiple classes without consequence.

Students are becoming more creative in the methods they use to cheat in classes. Therefore, we must also become more creative in the ways in which we work to maintain the integrity of the course content and materials used to assess students. They must learn the material in our courses as they will be our colleagues in the field one day.

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Check out our Facebook live session as we discuss Academic Dishonesty.

Creating and Using Grading Rubrics

Semester Preparation_ Creating Grading RubricsHave you ever received a grade on an assignment and wondered how the score was assigned? Did you question if the instructor even read your paper? Did you wonder how you could improve your next paper due to lack of feedback provided? When grading assignments, how will you ensure that students do not have the same questions? As you prepare for the semester, not only should you create assignments but also tools you will use to grade them.

The Purpose of Rubrics

Rubrics are tools used to assess students learning. A rubric should guide the evaluator’s attention to important elements that need to be assessed in papers, project, or presentations. A well developed grading rubric helps to guide the type of work students produce. In addition, it allows instructors to provide feedback when grading that is clear and directed toward assignment goals and expectations. Rubrics also ensure consistency and fairness by clearly communicating your expectations. A grading rubric should clearly state:

  • The assignment purpose
  • Objectives being measured
  • Point DistributionPractical professors-6

Creating Rubrics or Scoring Guides

Depending upon the purpose of the assignment and the assignment directions, expectations and requirements on the grading rubric/scoring guide will vary for each assignment. By creating a template with some common components, you can modify it for each assignment. Thus, when you are creating a rubric or scoring guide consider including the following categories:

  • Content
  • Thesis Statement
  • Organization (sentence and paragraph development)
  • Mechanics
  • References – Support from the Research
  • Formatting

Transparency

Provide the grading rubric or scoring guide to students when you assign the work to be completed. It should accompany the assignment directions. This transparency provides the students with the information that they need to successfully complete the assignment.

Rubrics and scoring guides help to keep faculty and teaching assistants objective. Further, it helps students to evaluate their own performance on an assignment. Clearly communicating your expectations and how an assignment will be graded can lead to higher quality work, because it provides students with the necessary knowledge to rise to the challenge before them and meet expectations of the assignment.

Finally, my favorite reason for using a rubric or scoring guide is the reduction in grading time! The rubric helps to focus your attention on the key elements identified as important. This allows you to focus on these elements as you read and provide comments on the paper or project.

Related Blog Posts:

Practical Advice for First Year Faculty

Practical Tips For Semester Preparation

Do you use student feedback when you prepare for the semester?

Online Teaching Tips

Grade Contest: Negotiating a Grade Appeal

A look inside my “Summer Off”

IMG_3469I love when people say to me “it must be nice to be a teacher and have your summers off”.  I don’t know about you, but time off is something that is scarce in my life. While my summer schedule definitely looks different than the schedule I follow during the academic calendar year, I would not classify it as time off. I have different tasks to complete in the summers that help to make my job a bit easier and smoother when school resumes in the fall. Preparation, during the summer, helps to make me feel relaxed at the beginning of the semester when I am not only preparing myself for the beginning of the semester but also getting my kids in ‘back to school’ mode and helping them get use to a new routine.

Write and Revise Curriculum

In the summer, there are a lot of things that I do to prepare for the upcoming school year. I update my lectures and powerpoints and find new resources such as articles, videos, and activities to incorporate into my classes. In the summer, I have more time to review resources such as textbook and research articles to incorporate into the classes I teach. I have reviewed several resources such as new textbooks and was even able to work with a publisher on a custom textbook for a course I teach.  I also explore the university library for recently published research articles that could be incorporated into classes. This allows me to stay abreast of the new developments in my field of study.

New Technologies

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I can also experiment and consider using different technologies in classes. This summer, I have been researching Loom. This is a free program that allows you to create short videos to provide feedback and comments (rather than typing them out). This seems to be a less time consuming and a bit more personal way to provide feedback. I am considering this for providing feedback to students on written assignments as well as for collaborating with colleagues on research projects.

If any readers have used this program, please feel free to share your experience below. Your feedback is appreciated!

Research and Presentations

The summer provides a great opportunity to work on research projects. I find it hard to write during the fall and spring semesters due to other responsibilities that often take precedence. Finding some time to research and write up findings is easier for me in the summer months. A colleague and I have been editing and revising an article we wrote, so that it can be submitted for publication.

I have also been working with two colleagues to prepare a study that can be conducted in the upcoming academic school year. We will be submitting our proposal through IRB and will collect data during the academic year in hopes of having the data available next summer so we can spend sometime analyzing it and writing up the findings.

I have also been preparing a conference presentation with a colleague. We will be presenting at a conference in October and have been taking advantage of the down time that we have in the summer to discuss and prepare our presentation.

Teaching Online

In addition, I have been teaching online classes this summer. I do this for several reasons. It also allows me the opportunity to teach graduate level classes. It provides the opportunity to teach classes that I would normally not teach during the regular semester and give some additional time to prep material for these classes. I enjoy teaching graduate level students. It is a nice and sometimes needed change. IMG_5519

It is also a nice way to supplement my income. This allows me to pay for vacations for my family. It also allows for some extra income to pay bills, student loans, and to make needed home improvements.

Online teaching can be time consuming; however, I can arrange my days and weeks to fit my summer schedule completing work early in the mornings or in different settings (like in my car while driving to CA for my family vacation – thank goodness for Hot Spot!).

Flexible Office Space and Hours

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 10.08.16 AMMy office space looks a little bit different in the summer. It is mobile. I may take my laptop to the pool and work while my kids participate in swim practice. I may wake up early and work at the kitchen table for a few hours before my little humans begin to stir. Sometimes, I head to the local library with my kids in tow and while they check out books and read or participate in one of the library activities, I get a little bit of work done. I am a mother as well as an instructor, and teaching is not my only responsibility. This also makes the term “time off” extremely humorous. Moms….do we ever really get ‘time off’?

So, while I definitely appreciate the change in pace that the summer months offer, I do not consider my summers “time off”. I never completely disconnect from my identity as an educator. I am constantly considering ways to improve my teaching practice, serve my students, and grow as a professional. I am sure some of you can relate. So…what have you been doing this summer to prepare?

Are you prepared to teach in various settings?

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Have you considered teaching in a new setting? It is no secret that the field of higher education is changing – shifting from traditional ground setting classes and toward online classes and blended or hybrid classes. The ability to teach in a variety of settings provides opportunities to teach in various settings, which opens the door to more teaching opportunities.

Today, many college students are adult learners, who have families and full-time jobs; they do not have the ability to come to campus several times a week to participate in classes. In addition, the majority of ground classes offered at colleges and universities for bachelor level students are offered during the day. This can pose a problem for adult learners or students who are working full time jobs to pay for college. Therefore, colleges and universities have adapted class offerings to be more accessible. So, let’s consider various formats/modalities courses can be offered in today….

Blended or Hybrid Learning
The best methods from the traditional classroom and the online environment are combined to create a blended learning or hybrid class. Blended learning classes include a face to face and online digital media component. Traditional classroom methods can be used to deliver content, and online digital media is used to deliver other aspects of the course content. Students are provided an opportunity to engage with the material due to the access to technology and resources that cannot be access from the traditional classroom setting. One popular form of blended learning is flipping the classroom. Students are expected to engage with and review material before coming to class. Then the material that they reviewed is applied in the classroom setting. Application provides the opportunity to really engage with the content in a meaningful way.

Online or Distance Learning
IMG_1701Online learning allows students to learn from any location where they have access to technology that allows them to access the Internet. A learning management system will be used to access the course materials and resources and to participate in discussions, ask questions, and submit assignments/graded work. Learning in this setting for the most part is asynchronous. Students are not require to physically attend class. They sole connect with the instructor, peers, and the course materials through the learning management system accessed by way of the Internet.

Cohort Classes
When students are in a cohort, this simply means they will progress through the degree program with the same group of students. Cohorts can be offered in K-12 programs, in undergraduate programs, and in graduate programs. They can also be established in face to face as well as online settings.

Current Trends
Teaching is no longer done by simply standing behind a podium and lecturing in the front of a classroom. For this reason, it’s important to consider how classes you teach in a traditional face to face format can be offered in various modalities. Can your lessons, activities, assignments, and assessments be modified, converted, or adapted to be taught in an online modality or blended learning setting? Do you need to create additional materials, new assessments, and different assignments for students in different settings? Or can you adopt current assessments and assignments to those particular settings? Regardless of the modality, courses that are offered in various modalities should include the same information. Students should be assessed on the exact same objectives as students in a ground course.

Try Something New
Have you done any research and considered possibly blending one of your traditional class ground classes? It is fairly easy to get into a routine, which often prohibts seeking and seizing opportunities to grow as a professional in this field or any field. When you continue to do what you are comfortable doing, you miss opportunities to expand your skills. It’s important to consider that as the field changes you also have to adapt and be willing to change to meet new standards and expectations.

IMG_1715Technological innovation have changed the field of education. Students are able to attend classes in various settings and modalities, because technology provides the means to attend class anywhere an Internet connection can be established. It has also changed the field of education, because teachers have to be more innovative when they are presenting information in class. Subject matter can be access easily and quickly from the Internet; students can “Google” just about anything. Simply standing and lecturing is no longer enough to draw students to classes and keep their attention. If they can read the information in the textbook or better yet, find it on the Internet, then why bother to attend class? Creative and innovative thinking, as well as stepping outside of your comfort zone, may be necessary in order to continue to grow as a professional in the field of higher education.

6 Things Educators in Higher Ed Should Do This Summer

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What are your summer plans? Is there anything in particular you are looking forward to? Are you planning a fun vacation with your family or friends? Have you created a “To Do” list of chores and projects that you need to complete at home? Will you teach summer classes or spend time prepping for the fall semester?

Here are six practical things we recommend you do this summer:

1. Teach Summer Classes
Summer classes are offered in various modalities. You may find opportunities to teach on ground. Most colleges will offer two summer sessions. You may also have the opportunity to teach online classes in your discipline. This is a great way to supplement your income. It is also a great way to gain experience teaching new classes that you have not prepped for and taught previously. Inquire about opportunities to teach summer classes.

2. Prepare and Plan
In the summer, we like to prepare for the next semester by doing some lesson planning. We consider new activities that we can implement in our classes. We also look for new videos show that relate to our content. By preparing and planning in the summer, we can rest assured that lectures, powerpoints, videos, activities, resources and assessments are updated for the following year.

3. Curriculum Development
This is also a great time to work on projects, such as course development or curriculum revisions. If the university has standardized curriculum, there may be opportunities to help to make the necessary revisions and updates. Textbooks used in courses are often updated, because new editions are published. The curriculum may need to be slightly modified to coincide with the revision of the textbook. Assignments may also need to be updated or revised. Grading rubrics may need to be created or revised to accurately assess and score assignments.

4. Research
This is also a great time to work on research projects. Planning research projects. Conducting a literature review on topics of interest. Writing proposals for conferences you wish to attend. Researching different conferences within your discipline or related to higher education can also be done in the summer. This allows for adequate time to prepare proposals that can be submitted for consideration.

5. Professional Development
Attend a conference. Present at a conference. These are great ways to remain current in your field and to network with other professionals in the field. Conduct a web search for conferences for higher education professionals.

All of the tasks listed above have professional benefit. When is the last time you updated your CV or resume? This is something that is easy to overlook. The CV or resume is often not considered until it is needed. The summer months provide a great time to update your CV or resume to reflect professional activities such as classes taught, curriculum developed, and research participation. An updated CV or resume could be used to apply for positions that may become available during the summer months. Continue to look for openings at local colleges and universities.

6. Rest and Recharge
While planning and preparing for the following semester can help to reduce stress at the beginning of the semester and during the school year, it is also important to spend some time recharging. Teaching is a lifestyle! Summer vacation does not necessary equate to several months of time off, but it does usually mean a more flexible schedule. Spend some time doing things that you enjoy. Take a vacation, spend time with family, catch up with friends. Read a book for pleasure. Take a yoga class. Get a massage. Try something new – something that you have been considering but just haven’t gotten around to – and DO IT! Begin the new semester, rested, refreshed, and recharged!IMG_4116

Photo Credit: @snapshot_factory & @iamkiran