Joy, Steve and I attended a 3-day Writing and Teaching Retreat for faculty, organized by the CTLR and held at the Mountain Top Inn in Chittenden. We led a session called “Undergraduates as Researchers,” brainstormed with faculty in syllabus workshops, and gave individual and small-group introductions to the course hub, Moodle, and other curricular technology.
Here are just a few take-aways from the event:
- During our session on undergraduates as researchers, several faculty members agreed that determining whether or not a source is appropriate for use in a paper is one of the most important skills for student writers to learn; it also is one of the most difficult skills to teach.
- In a session on oral presentation skills, we learned that simply taking a deep breath as you approach a podium can help you speak more clearly.
- When working with first-year seminar faculty, some in the CTLR like to share this advice: “You are creating the students you want to see in your other classes.”
- Both students and faculty won’t always ask for help, even if they might need it. “We don’t know what we don’t know,” one faculty member pointed out.
- When planning a class or a workshop, start at the end (ask, “What do I want the students to have learned?”) and work backwards. This should help you decide which content to prioritize.
One more thing: The Mountain Top Inn is a really nice place!