Check Announcements

In case some of you are checking the blog more regularly than eLearning, please let me take a moment to remind you that I post more information about what’s coming up and what items will be due through the News & Announcements section of eLearning. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email me.

Textbook Help

For those students who have yet to obtain a personal copy of the textbook, my first suggestion is to purchase a copy of the REVEL, eBook, edition of the text.

Alternatively, if you have purchased a copy but are awaiting its arrival, you may contact a classmate who already has their copy and work together to complete this week’s assignment. HOWEVER, ensure that your work is not identical.

Finally, there are copies of the textbook available in the campus library on the reserve rack. I have also added a previous edition today which can be used to get you through the bulk of the material, in the event that the other copies are being viewed.

Learning Objectives

Students are sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that comes at their heads in a classroom. To make it even  more difficult, instructors often expect more than rote memorization of facts and details, but don’t always tell you what you should be able to do. That’s where the course’s Learning Challenges can actually be helpful to you. Use the information to help you target your study time and be more effective.

When you are reviewing the course’s Learning Challenges, remember that these challenges include what I, as your instructor, believe are most critical for your successful understanding of the material. With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the verbs you need to know.

Describe (or explain). When you see these words, it means that you need to be able to do more than define a term. Add details, thoughts, and put the concept or idea into your own words. That will be your biggest help.

Outline (or summarize). Focus on key words and ideas, rather than on using the original source’s words. Think about how you might explain the idea to a younger sibling, a child, or someone who has no background.

Evaluate (or prove, supportdefend). This is about developing an argument, using evidence that enhances your ideas or understanding. Evidence may include examples, descriptions, definitions, or anything else that might build up your idea.

Create. If you see this, you know the information needs to be pulled together in a different way than you probably learned it. Frequently, this will be accompanied with specific graphic organizers (charts, diagrams, etc.) to help build up or demonstrate your understanding of a topic.

Keep pushing to learn! Several students have found this method of studying really helpful, and I sincerely hope it works for you, too!

 

Shared Post: A Memo to My Students

I subscribe to a teaching blog, and every once in a while, I get a post emailed to me that is worth sharing directly with my students. This one showed up this morning, and I thought you might find it an interesting read.

Keep one thing in mind, if you learn nothing else from this post: How you present yourself in college (and in this course) sets you on a track of who you will become in your career. Be the best representation of your sense of self so your instructors WANT to help you.

Faculty Focus: A Memo to My Students

 

New Semester, New Model

Every year, I make a big change to my course design. It has less to do with the idea that I’m dissatisfied with the course than because I want to ensure that the course remains fresh, vibrant, and relevant to my scholars.

This year, I finally made the big switch to the Flipped Classroom model. It’s something I have intended to do for the last several years of my career, a topic that has consumed my personal research time. I wanted it to be my focus this year in part because of our faculty in-service training, but more so because it directly addresses one of my chief concerns: student engagement with the course materials.

In order to accomplish the flipped learning model, scholars will have to not only read the assigned components of the textbook, but also respond to questions, prompts, and directives in order to demonstrate that they have read and understood the material. Why is this important?

First, I don’t really love lecturing. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE to talk about topics, and I really enjoy connecting different concepts and ideas. However, I didn’t learn best from lecturers in college. Why would I, then, place lecturing as the emphasis for the course I teach? For me, that’s an illogical connection, to teach in a way that directly opposes my own best learning experiences.

Second, when students are engaged with the material in advance, they have to participate more actively in the course itself. If you know what’s going on with a topic, you are far more likely to participate in the discussion. Further, you are more likely to make connections in your own brain. With that in mind, this is the best way to ensure success.

I hope my scholars are excited about this different model, not just because of the teaching side, but because it’s a good fit for what we’re trying to accomplish: connecting communication theory and models to our every day living.

All that to say: I believe in you, scholar. Work hard this semester to connect to the course content, and let’s make it a great class for everyone involved!

Speech week wrap-up

I hope you have learned a lot, my scholars, about various organizations around the world, thanks to the presentations you offered this week. I hope, too, that you think back over your experience in learning how to develop a speech and you realize a few key ideas.

  1. Speech writing is not a one-time event, but a long-term process. Many of you began thinking about your speech topic the first day of class. Sometimes, your first choice was your best option… other times, students found that the third and fourth choices yield better results.
  2. If you start early, you can generally organize your ideas more effectively. Those of you who used the research effectively for the proposal and developed ideas as you went along for your Annotated Source List probably found writing the speech a little easier. If you use those key ideas, summaries, and paraphrased concepts, you can more effectively prepare a solid outline from which to present.
  3. You won’t die being in front of people. Yes, it’s scary and overwhelming at times. Watching that clock slowly tick by is tough and really concerning when you have practiced and always hit just over the minimum… but suddenly are two minutes shy of that minimum now. But we want you to excel! I cheer you on when I see you doing good (even if I have to keep a stone face during your presentation).
  4. It really helps to pay attention to others. Every semester, one or two students come up after the speeches and reflecting on their new experience, ask me how I do this every day. I mean, people were looking bored or completely inattentive. And, as a teacher, do I get that all the time?

In short, yes, I do. And it really hurts me to see a student whose hard work across the semester is ignored by his or her peers. While I don’t expect every speech will sink into every mind the same, I do hope that you learned a little something. I hope, too, you appreciate how hard it is for your teachers, even in the subjects you hate.

That said, one VERY happy memory of this week: after class today, I had a group of students stand around and talk for a few minutes about one another’s presentations. Advice was shared, smiles were exchanged, and suddenly, it seemed, these scholars were starting to appreciate the necessity of a learning community, rather than the isolated experiences we often find.