The End is Near! (Now what do we do?)

The smell of turkey is in the air. Students are starting to look increasingly panicked. Faculty carrying large stacks of paper and looking harried rush from class to class.

Ahhh, the end of the semester. How do we survive it?

For starters, you can join us this afternoon from 3-4 pm in A2552 for a CTL workshop on student performance anxiety. Now that it’s nearly Thanksgiving, students are feeling more and more anxious about end-of-the-semester exams, projects, and presentations, and as finals get nearer, this anxiety will only intensify.

How can we help students manage and decrease their performance-related anxiety? In this CTL workshop, Kristen Cooper, one of Normandale’s counselors, will share strategies for helping students deal with anxiety—test anxiety in particular, but also anxiety related to class participation, presentations, etc.

We hope to see you there!

In other end-of-the-semester news, it is almost time for students to submit course evaluations. But what do we, as faculty, do with the information that we get from these evaluations?  Here are some articles that offer suggestions:

  • Here is an article from the Innovative Instructor blog (out of Johns Hopkins), with suggestions for how faculty can use course evaluations to improve their teaching and, ultimately, student feedback.
  • This article from Faculty Focus discusses how faculty can adopt an improvement mindset, where they are “always confronting themselves with how they could improve, always being on the lookout for ways to increase student learning, and always accepting that no matter how high (or low) the scores, improvement is an option.”
  • This final article, also from Faculty Focus, discusses when faculty receive negative comments and considers how to respond without overreacting.

As we look ahead to next semester, here are a few additional opportunities to consider:

  • First of all, thank you to the 44 faculty who responded to the “Blended/Hybrid course Instructor preparation and challenges, and to those who emailed Kathleen separately. Faculty can contact Kathleen Coate for an appointment if they’d like one-on-one help with D2L course design. Also, watch for a workshop on hybrid course design during the January Development Day–we know this is something that many of you have asked for! 
  • Also, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is hosting a 2.5-day Institute on Project-Based Learning “where teams of five or more faculty and administrators from colleges and universities of all types work with experts to gain knowledge about project-based learning and make tangible progress to integrate that knowledge into their own curricula. The Institute curriculum is a mix of interactive workshops on project-based learning, consultations with Institute faculty, and collaborative teamwork guided by a dedicated coach.” Applications are being accepted through February 12. You can find more information about this opportunity on WPI’s website.

That’s it for today! Enjoy the shorter week, and have a very happy Thanksgiving 🙂


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