Quick start guide to teaching

Are you brand new to teaching? Maybe it has been awhile since you’ve been in the classroom? Don’t worry…we’ve all been there and many of your students are just as nervous about this adventure as you are!

Survival Skills for the College Professor is a great place to brush up your skills or learn brand new ones so you can make the most of your experience as a college professor!

A three-module, self-paced course, Survival Skills covers everything from instructional planning, through to delivery and evaluation. Designed to introduce skills and concepts most commonly required for effective instruction, this resource can be read from beginning to end, or simply used as a reference for specific needs.

Because we know it is very overwhelming to get everything organized and prepared at the beginning of a new semester, we have produced a Northern College Quick Start Guide to Teaching resource. These resources are the must-haves….the essential classroom survival skills. Invest what little precious time you have in these and you will feel much more secure in your new role.

Once you get going and your classes are underway, come back to this website and look at some of the additional resources available to you. There is a wealth of knowledge and information. You will have to be selective because you can’t do it all at once.

Remember that good teaching is a process, not a destination. It is ever evolving because your students are ever changing so it will never be “done”. Concentrate on making improvements where you can, and enjoy the journey!

Whether you’re a new or experienced teacher, you have a chance to make an impact on the future of the country. How can you be as effective as possible?

This multimedia resource for community college faculty will challenge your previous thinking about teaching and learning and give you the basic tools for effective classroom practice. The key theme of the course is to encourage you to focus on what the students will do and take responsibility for their success.

Teachers know their content and they know how to explain. These are valuable skills. But teachers have to become experts at tapping into their students’ knowledge base and how they learn.

Surviving your first day of class!

College faculty’s insider’s guide to the first day of class

Five Things to do on the First Day of Class

Carnegie Melon’s “Make the Most of the First Day of Class”

Classroom Assessment Techniques (PDF, 597 KB)
This job aid describes some simple, non-threatening ways you can evaluate your students’learning and their reaction to your teaching methods. This job aid will help you to: plan and conduct a classroom assessment, analyze the feedback, and make changes to improve learning as early as the next class.
Includes techniques for online courses.

Assessing Your Teaching Effectiveness (PDF, 224 KB)
This job aid describes some methods you can use to analyze and improve your instruction, using your own observation and records and by gathering feedback  from your students.  This job aid will help you to: decide which qualities of your teaching to evaluate, choose an appropriate assessment method, and make changes to improve your teaching.  Includes techniques for online courses.

Making Large Lectures Interactive (PDF 185 KB)
This job aid describes the best use of lectures and provides five steps for planning your lectures so they are more interactive.
This job aid will help you to: use strategies that actively involve students in their learning, and increase your students’retention of learning.

Starting Off On The Right Foot (PDF 103 KB)
This job aid explains why good beginnings are important and tells you what you should do to get off to a good start at the beginning of a new course. This job aid will help you to: make sure you are completely prepared to deliver the course before classes start,
make your first day of class have lasting impact and set the tone,
and establish an excellent learning environment in the first few classes that will continue throughout the course. Includes techniques for online courses.

Managing Student Behaviour (PDF 120 KB)
This job aid describes the most effective ways to increase the likelihood of positive student behaviour in your classes.
This job aid will help you to: plan ahead to increase positive student behaviour, prevent or defuse disruptive behaviour, handle problems when they arise, and manage the classroom environment with an awareness of your authority and responsibilities.
Includes techniques for online courses.

Using Questions Effectively (PDF, 115 KB)
This job aid describes the educational value of asking questions and explains how you can enhance learning through the use of questioning. This job aid will help you to:  select the appropriate types of questions for particular teaching situations, design a sequence of questions to deepen learning on a particular topic,
manage question and answer exchanges to encourage participation.
Includes techniques for online courses.

Increasing Student Motivation (PDF, 103 KB)
This job aid explains the importance of motivation in learning and describes internal and external motivation. This job aid will help you to: rate your ability to increase your students’ motivation, and add motivational strategies to your course and lesson plans.
Includes techniques for online courses.

Effective Use of Group Work (PDF, 206 KB)
This job aid describes the educational value and the ingredients of effective group learning. It contains many examples of group learning tasks.  This job aid will help you to: form productive learning groups,select appropriate group learning tasks, facilitate group learning, and evaluate group learning outcomes.  Includes techniques for online courses.

Creating a Rubric (PDF, 138 KB)
This job aid describes rubrics and their usefulness in assessing student performance that is difficult to assess in traditional ways.
This job aid will help you to: create a well-designed rubric,
ensure objectivity and fairness in the rubric.

Designing and Using Visuals (PDF, 396 KB)
This job aid describes how effective visuals can enhance your teaching. It contains techniques and guidelines to help you create and use effective visuals. This job aid will help you to: use best practice techniques for the design of visuals (text and graphics),
use sound and animation in presentation software appropriately
Includes techniques for online courses.

Developing Checklists and Rating Scales (PDF, 180 KB)
This job aid describes how to assess student performance or products using checklists and rating scales. This job aid will help you to: select the appropriate tool based on the learning outcome, create well-designed checklists and rating scales, and ensure objectivity and fairness in checklists and rating scales.

Developing Written Tests (PDF, 177 KB)
This job aid describes several types of written tests and explains when each type is best used. It includes a discussion on using graphics in test questions. This job aid will help you to:
decide on the most appropriate test questions for assessing learning, match test questions with desired learning outcomes,
develop effective short-answer, long-answer, multiple-choice, and true/false test questions and construct test questions that include graphics.  This also includes techniques for online courses.

Writing Learning Outcomes (PDF, 916 KB)
This job aid explains the importance of learning outcomes and describes their connection with program goals. It defines the categories (domains) of learning outcomes and identifies the levels within these categories. This job aid will help you to:
write focused learning outcomes for your courses that reflect the knowledge, skills, or attitudes and the level of learning required
and ensure that your course has an appropriate number of learning outcomes.

Preparing Lesson Plans (PDF, 412 KB)
This job aid provides guidelines for planning each stage of a lesson, identifies appropriate teaching techniques to suit the lesson, and provides a sample lesson plan template.  This job aid will help you to:  help people learn, based on an understanding of how people learn
and how to structure your lessons for deeper and richer learning

Teaching Best Practices Cheat Sheet (PDF, 125 KB)
A quick and easy checksheet that identifies the most important best practices in the classroom.

Universal Instructional Design (PDF, 2.96 KB)
As this manual demonstrates so effectively, adopting the principles of UID will enhance access to appropriate education for all learners, including those who have learning disabilities. UID will reduce the need for add-on differentiation in many cases. While it does not eliminate the need for specific accommodations for students with disabilities in certain circumstances, it will help to minimize the need for individualized accommodations for many students, who may prefer not to be singled out for the provision of these. Implementing the principles of UID will also have unanticipated benefits for others, who do not have a disability, but who have a variety of needs and circumstances.