I had the opportunity to discuss teaching and learning ideas with the adjuncts a week before school started. What a great group of people who do a very difficult job - they usually just get dumped in the classroom with little guidance, so I hope our conversation provided some useful ideas. Here's the Adjunct Presentation (PDF) I used that focuses on how people learn and how to design effective classes that actually can work for students (and you).
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How do we really know what students are getting from our courses? Do they truly understand the material, or are they merely memorizing content? Elicitation of students' mental models is a powerful approach that goes beyond traditional assessment methods. What's a mental model? Tune into this website to find out. The site will also describe an easy technique for doing a quick assessment of how your students are organizing course material in their minds.
No, I don't mean failing classes. I'm talking about providing a safe environment in your class where students can try things, experiment, explore, without fear of penalty (such as a grade). Did you write an elegant essay the first time you picked up a pen? Was your first research experiment an unqualified success? As brilliant as you undoubtedly are, I doubt it. It takes