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Teaching Your First Course: Balancing Teaching and Research

Module by: Rice ADVANCE. E-mail the author

Summary: This presentation was compiled by Richard Baraniuk (ELEC), Mike Gustin (BCB), Jane Grande-Allen (BIOE), and Yousif Shamoo (BCB).

Discussion Topics

How to be a good teacher

How to balance teaching and getting a research program off the ground

Why do we teach?

So that people learn

Who do we teach?

students

colleagues

your chair, your dean

the public

program managers

patent office

Teaching Tips – Richard Felder

Developing a good course takes time

learn good time management

What students learn < What you teach

don’t just try to “cover” the material

Learning styles

don’t “teach yourself”

Active learning

“I hear, I forget;

I see, I remember;

I do, I understand”

2 minute paper

Teaching Large Classes – Mike Gustin

Large class teaching: tips

Outline of class topics on board

Avoid powerpoint where possible

1-2 sec pause between points

Be intense

Wait for questions, step into class

Take a break in the middle

Large class teaching: issues

Break into smaller groups?

Clickers?

Quiz at start of class?

Notes on line?

Large class teaching: testing

Exam topics predictable, exact question not

Multiple choice plus short essay (best 5 of 7)

Curve each exam, give letter grades

Mean ± SD, mean = lowest point of B range;

each SD one full grade (B-, B, B+)

Your First Year Teaching – Jane Grande-Allen

  • Plan 6-8 hours of prep time per lecture
  • Don’t expect perfection
  • Do get feedback throughout the semester
  • Don’t expect eager listening faces
  • Do make the time to get to know your students

or at least learn names

Assignment tips

  • Textbooks have typos
  • Work the exams yourself
  • Extra credit: not all that

After: Recap and Revise

  • Fix the lectures that needed the most work irst
  • Every few lectures, work in up to date data to keep things current
  • Get a mentor and meet monthly. Go over how EVERYTHING has been for you
  • Do attend teaching workshops

Evaluations

  • Don’t take the evaluations too harshly
  • “This professor actually discouraged independent thought…”
  • “Dr. Grande-Allen is the most fair & considerate teacher I’ve had at Rice…”
  • “Not enough engineering – too much biology”
  • “The name of the course should surely be changed to Mechanical Properties of ECM because little or no chemistry or biology was discussed”

Time Management / Balance

  • Set office hours and keep to them
  • Give the same course lecture you gave last year
  • Don’t say yes to every undergrad that wants to work with you
  • Focus your time on learning what you need for the research you will be strongest at
  • Do early
    • Write IRB and IACUC
    • Attend regional training seminars by NIH and NSF
    • Sign up for grants mailing lists

Maintain Perspective

  • Get a mentor and meet monthly!
  • Colleagues, other young faculty
  • Get to know some people and faculty outside the department
  • Read At the Helm
  • Check out a few blogs of other women in this position

Points for Discussion

  • How to deal with absent or failing students
  • The students are not like you were/are
  • Should you recycle quizzes/exams?
  • How accommodating should you be to student requests?
  • Where did the day go? Protecting your time
  • What is important and not important?

Compiled/Presented by

Richard Baraniuk (ELEC)

Mike Gustin (BCB)

Jane Grande-Allen (BIOE)

Yousif Shamoo (BCB)

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