We are almost to the halfway point in the semester, and truthfully, things are going a bit off the rails. Everyone seems a little more rushed, a little less forgiving, and there’s an air of “when will it be over?” in the air. Of course, maybe it’s just me.
At any rate, this is the time in the semester when I’m particularly thankful for the productivity tools I have in place. I’m able to just rely on them to do their jobs while I go on auto-pilot for a while just concentrating on whatever comes next. In my last blog post, I discussed general principles of productivity and outlined my basic workflow. This time, I’m going to focus on some specific tools to add to your productivity toolbox.
In this guest post, Brenda Yang introduces us to a Daily Writing Challenge. Brenda and her colleagues developed this challenge as a way to hold one another accountable for their writing and turn writing into a daily habit rather than an occasional task. If you are like me, it is easy to save writing for "when there is time", when in reality, every day should have a block of time (be it small or large) dedicated to writing. I am excited to share Brenda's writing tool with you, and to start using it myself. Read more below to learn how the Daily Writing Challenge works, and find links to templates so you can start your own Daily Writing Challenge!
As part of our recurring SoTL posts, I was looking for an article about online teaching, and perhaps something to do with first time online instructors. I will be teaching my very first online class this summer. In addition to my teaching responsibilities this semester I am also taking a class about how to be an effective and impactful instructor in an online course. This course has been extremely helpful in that I am encouraged to have my entire summer class planned and implemented by May 1st. My online class happens to be Introductory Psychology so we will be touching on a variety of topics including mental health. When I came across the article “Reducing Mental Illness Stigma in The Classroom: An Expanded Methodology” by Carla G. Strassle my interest piqued immediately. In my in-person Intro class we reserve two full days for conversation regarding mental health, stigma, and therapy. At my institution, Intro Psychology is part of the Social World track of courses where students engage in discussions centered around the socially constructed contexts we exist in at all time. A conversation about mental health and stigma that involves all students in class is an incredibly important learning opportunity on multiple fronts – both for the topic itself AND for the chance to have a discussion about a topic not all people feel free to discuss at all times. I was excited to find this article in hopes of it helping me facilitate a productive online conversation centered on mental health and stigma for all students in my class.
Advising students about the major, graduate school, and careers in their chosen field can be challenging. Within our department of three primarily undergraduate faculty members, we have over 150 psychology majors, double-majors, and minors. That means the three of us are carrying a load of about 50 advisees each. Juggling that with our 4:4 (plus) teaching load, committee work, and trying to do research can be particularly challenging. One area of advising that I struggle to do well is remembering to educate my advisees beyond which courses they need to take, particularly if they don’t ask. The problem is that many students don’t know their options so they don’t know which questions to ask.
Guest post by Dr. Lynne Kennette of Durham College, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
After completing my graduate studies, which were mostly funded with a graduate teaching assistantship, I began my full-time, permanent career as a college instructor at Durham College (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada). For more on my journey to academia, see my previous post on The Novice Professor Blog. As a graduate student, I was at a R1 school in Detroit, Michigan (Wayne State University) teaching introduction to psychology and senior, writing-intensive labs in cognition. The diverse student population in my courses were all majoring in psychology and most were in their final semester of their 4-year undergraduate degree. This is what I was used to. This is who I was trained to teach. This is what I was prepared for.
Despite having to spend considerable time adjusting my curriculum and course schedules for five classes to fit the rare closure of our campus six days this wintery spring 2019 semester in Wisconsin, I still managed to discover some new lifelong learning gems this February. Here it goes…