Three Perspectives to Invigorate Your Teaching

Let’s face it, most faculty were good students and always did well in school. For students, having a professor who is adept at learning can be inspiring. But what if academic work comes so naturally to faculty that they have trouble relating to the average student?
I’ve worked with several faculty members who fall into this category. “Rose,” a business professor, stands out in my memory. When I suggested that she break her online course into modules to make the weekly tasks more manageable for students, she was baffled. “Everything is in the syllabus!” she responded. She then explained that when she was in college, she began each course by carefully reading the syllabus and organizing the assignments into a schedule that she diligently followed throughout the semester.
It didn’t make sense to Rose to repeat that information again in modules. When I suggested that school must have come easily to her, she agreed. However, our university serves many students who don’t have much experience with academic learning strategies that may come naturally to faculty.
Of course, we can and should teach our students these strategies, but gaining new perspectives could help us to see everything in a course, from the syllabus organization to the assignment timeline, through the eyes of our students. If we really want to understand what our students need in the context of daily learning, there are three people to ask: yourself as a …