Professor Bill Cunion (Mount Union College) emailed me yesterday with his suggestions on starting the semester off right. You can hear his voice in the replies he gives to typical questions that students have in figuring out how to be successful in his class.
I hope the new semester and the new year are going well for you. It was just one year ago that I attended one of your workshops (in St Petersburg, FL). One of the many things I picked up was to communicate clearly the expectations for the course on the first day.
When I saw this post on your site earlier this week, I thought you might appreciate seeing how I have incorporated a similar idea in my own classes as a result of your workshop.
I have attached my “PS 105 FAQs,” which addresses the big issues (what is this class? What are the tests like?) as well as the expectations (attendance, prompt arrival, attention, etc.). I also share with them the previous distribution of grades, along with my tips on how they can do well.
Perhaps most importantly, I close the sheet with a question that you started our workshop with: Will I like this course? I admired the confidence with which you answered that question affirmatively at the beginning of our session, and I think it’s a strong way to start a course. It does put some pressure on the instructor to follow through, but how can we set high expectations for them unless we expect a lot of ourselves, too?
Thanks again for a great learning experience. Please feel free to share as you like.