Recently, I’ve been thinking about my syllabi and how important they are in our courses. The last couple semesters I’ve had students compliment me on my syllabi! But I’ve also heard complaints about syllabi from other faculty. I’ve been trying to unpack why this might be.
This year I made the decision to combine two of my classes: Cognitive Psychology and Biological Psychology. I’m still teaching two classes, but now I’m covering different topics across both semesters. The official name for these courses is Cognition and Neuroscience I and II, but I lovingly refer to them as Thinking and the Brain part 1 and 2. So far, I’ve been pretty pleased with how things are going.
For a while now, I have noticed that students don’t seem to know how to take notes. When in class, they only focus on writing down what is on the PowerPoint slides, and they write this down as a word-for-word transcription. They do this even if the lectures slides are available on the LMS. This means that student may be unintentionally ignoring the message from the instructor. Those students are missing out on additional explanations and examples. Their lives could be more difficult when it comes time to study for the exam without that additional information.
Every school I’ve been to since starting graduate school, I’ve been the instructor for research methods lab. It’s done a little differently at every place but generally functions with the same end goal in mind: give students experience with data collection (and maybe analysis) and writing a full APA style research report.
Here are some fun ideas I came up with for a social psychology class (with help from various sources, particularly conference presenters). While these are specific to my social psychology course, they could be easily adapted for other course content:
When most people think of an immersive learning experience, they probably think of an internship or a field trip or maybe learning a foreign language via immersion (I.e., in the country of origin). While these experiences are immersive, students can also have immersive experiences without leaving the classroom.
I’ve just wrapped up my third year as an assistant professor. Can you believe it? I almost can’t. I work at William Peace University in Raleigh, NC. We’re in the heart of downtown; campus is a gorgeous tree-filled oasis. It’s a small school; about 800 students, which was the size of my high school. Over the last few years, I’ve had some good and some less than desirable experiences. I thought I would take a moment to reflect on my time at WPU thus far and generate a list of pros and cons of working at a small, private liberal arts university.