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Doing a little spade work now can make teaching easier next time around.

Here are some things to try:

  • Spend some time reflecting back on the previous semester. What went especially well? What activities did not work as well as you would have liked? Using this worksheet can help you assess your class and your performance—and help you determine the sorts of changes you might want to make next semester.

  • Go back through your class and save samples of work to show future students, as well as thoughtful discussion posts and announcements that you might be able to reuse. Create a file (e.g., a Word document) where you can organize, save, and easily retrieve this material for use next semester.
  • Did you find errors in your course content that you have not already fixed? Now is the time to take care of these issues! Send an email to the Online Help Desk to request any changes.
  • Were there certain tasks or concepts that several of your students had trouble with? Consider compiling a set of guidelines or a list of tips or an FAQ, which you can post in your discussion next semester (as an announcement or an informational topic), to help cut down on repetitive questions. You might create a set of general tips for broader issues, and/or you might create assignment-specific tips, which you could include in the global topic for the relevant assignment. Eventually, these sorts of additions should be worked into the module content—which would typically happen as part of a course rebuild. It is usually not feasible to rebuild a class between semesters, but it might be possible to add some content to your modules. Talk with your Academic Director about both short-term fixes and longer-term solutions.
  • If substantial changes to the content of your class are necessary, contact your Academic Director with your feedback. You might even be interested in exploring the possibility of rebuilding the class.

(star)(star)  The Academic Directors are responsible for hiring—and rehiring—instructors in their departments.

So if you are interested in continuing to teach online at the Academy, check in with your Academic Director about the needs for next semester.

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  1. Do you have additional suggestions for preparing for another semester of teaching? Please share them here...

    1. One thought (recurring) is this: each new semester seems to bring a new "tone" of the way students approach my classes. This might simply be a manifestation of things evolving in the culture at large. For example, several years ago it seemed that more students took their time in what they wrote in their posts, writing less and saying more. It seems today that students are more "wordy" and they don't read things as carefully. So I try to repeat instructions in a "short and sweet" manner whenever possible, such as "Remember to use the Instructor's Office for quick in-progress feedback on your projects."

  2. Thanks Jennifer.


      1. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that I'm scheduled to teach SP16 in FND and FA. Thanks.


  3. Jenny, thank you for this and for each of the instructional suggestions you have posted throughout the semester. I like this new format. It's amazing how fast the time flies, but this is now my 10th year teaching OL for FND and FA! I enjoy it more than ever. Take care, and have a wonderful Holiday season.


  4. I'm glad you like this new feature, Thomas! There are so many people with great ideas and experience to share, and it's exciting to find a new way to get the word out.

    10 years of teaching online — wow! I've been here almost 12 years, and it's hard to realize that it's been so long. Glad we're both still having a good time!

    Happy Holidays to you and yours,

  5. These are great suggestions. I've already started on a couple of them. Thanks! Wendy

  6. Yes, thanks Thomas and Jennifer. It is useful to read these.