Planning Your Course
“The syllabus is your script” (Volk, 2011, p. 123). Students will know exactly what to expect to learn and do on any day of the semester. To build a thoughtful syllabus, you need to consider knowledge and skills:
- Knowledge: choose topics of the discipline that provide foundational ideas and incorporate new thinking
- Skills or activities: “integrate critical thinking, coherent writing, and informed, coherent discussion” (Volk, 2011, p. 123). “Practical skills can be learned individually or in groups, through student presentations or short-acting assignments” (p. 124).
Effectively Using Site Visits
Some Preliminary Questions for Faculty:
When in the arc of the semester will the site visit take place: beginning, middle, or end?
Will that timeline benefit the overall objectives of the visit?
Will the site visit introduce a concept? Help frame a project? Provide a capstone?
Does the visit teach a specific lesson, or open up a field for student research?
What kind of guidance do my students need?
Before the class begins, check the following physical dimensions of your room (Reed, 2002, p. 28):
- Heating and air conditioning controls – where they are, how to operate them, who to contact for help
- Lighting controls – where they are and whether lighting can be dimmed closest to the area where you will be doing projections or displaying videos
- Secure storage area for equipment or papers to limit access by others
- Location of the restrooms
- Availability of tools or equipment you need – are they in the classroom or will you have to find them, reserve them, and transport them? Are plugs accessible? Identify safety hazards and the location and status of safety equipment (for science courses,
for example, eye wash fountains, showers, fire extinguishers, chemical spill kits, etc.)
- Visibility – are there obstructions that will block students’ view of you or any presentation? If so, how can you work around the obstruction?
- How is the room arranged?