Preparing to teach (again) – Top Tips to get you back in the swing

We hope that you were able to recharge your batteries over the summer and so may be starting to think about your teaching for this coming semester.

Here’s some easy, concise tips and suggestions of how you might review what and how you teach or provide support to your learners.

Some Fundamentals

  • Review your syllabus – check out the learning outcomes, content and assessment. In particular make sure that Week 1 is planned really well and that materials are engaging, inclusive and accessible.
  • You might record the assignment task and criteria in a video – click this link to self-enrol on a course to explore using Studio in Canvas. You’ll probably cover the assignment expectations in class, but this will be an easy ‘go to’ resource to signpost to students.

The TEL Team within SALT is offering a range of sessions to help get your content ready on Canvas.  Visit: Get Ready for 2022/23 – Swansea University

  • Find out about your students – how many might be enrolled, their backgrounds (e.g. mature/international/visual or learning impairments). This information will help to inform you of any adaptations necessary to have relevant examples/case studies and suitable approaches and materials.
  • What learning spaces have you been allocated and/or what are possible other spaces you can use? We’d recommend you visit and familiarise yourself with the teaching spaces, and the equipment, if possible before you teach. Check out the centrally bookable room images on Flickr: Learning Environments’s albums | Flickr
  • Refamiliarise yourself with your teaching methods (SALT can help with e.g. using podcasts or Flipped Learning approaches – see our webpage: Pedagogy – Swansea University).
  • Look (again) at past module evaluations for practices to improve – but take a long perspective and don’t respond necessarily to possible ‘fads’.
  • Try not to leave things to the last minute! Your tone of voice and presentation for audio/video resources can be negatively impacted when you are under time pressures. (For other tips, review this excellent resource: Top 10 Tips for accessible, engaging video microlectures (edgehill.ac.uk))

Delving a bit deeper:

  • Get peer feedback – as a one-off or as an ongoing activity.
  • Investigate what professional development courses are available that would help hone your skills? SALT’s programme can be booked via our Forthcoming events: https://bit.ly/SUSALTEvents but there may be other sessions available organised through the University’s Department for Training Services, at School/Faculty level or via your subject or professional body.
  • Review resources you have previously highlighted. Remember all those ‘likes’, bookmarked web pages or articles you emailed to yourself to look at? Time to read priority ones.
  • Keep reflecting on your teaching – as you teach, make notes on your slides/handouts/ keep a ‘teacher’s diary’. This activity will be particularly helpful for HEA fellowship claims/remaining in good standing and for PDR/promotion.

Engaging with your learners

  • Think about how you can engage your students and harness enthusiasm for your course. If you’re still teaching online, we have various Tips or you can use a range of active learning approaches or engagement activities in person or online.
  • Share your teaching philosophy – explain why the course is designed as it is and why certain aspects reflect professional requirements.
  • Ask students about what their goals are and find out their prior knowledge on your subject – you can then tailor activities and build connections.
  • Set clear expectations of both self and students and you might want to consider jointly developed rules or assignment tasks (co-created activities)
  • Think about how you might build community among your learners, introduce ice breakers and make it fun e.g. a PADLET to collect photos/favourite music

Connecting with your team

  • Get to know colleagues who teach or support learning on your course – including those in professional services such as student experience advisers, subject librarians, technology enhanced learning staff to support one another and provide a great programme level experience for your students.

SALT can help!

If you need help with any of the above, please get in touch with us in SALT: salt@swansea.ac.uk or via our website: Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching (SALT) – Swansea University

Sources

The above suggestions reflect a combination of ‘crowd sourced’ suggestions via Twitter in August 2022 combined with the 2021 blogpost by Alexandra Mihai: Time to reboot and start the new semester (substack.com) – her blogpost has some suggestions specific to teaching again in the pandemic and includes more links to further resources.

Word version of the above post: Preparing to teach blogpost Sep 2022

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