Jan Marie Traynor

Being a better teacher

Blog Post created by Jan Marie Traynor on Nov 10, 2010

I think I am a better teacher today than I was a few years ago. That may sound like bragging but I don't mean it that way - I say it because I have learned some better ways to reach my students - and especially through more interactive lessons in the classroom. The changes were actually driven because we have been involved for over 10 years with online courses and more recently with hybrid courses. It is so important when students take a hybrid or online class that they feel connected to the class - to the community of students and faculty that make up the class. It is so easy as a student to feel isolated (especially with online classes) so I found myself developing lots of collaborative activities that students can do when the classes meet. They worked so well that I continued the use of these lessons with my face-to-face classes.  I lecture less and facilitate more and the student success and satisfaction has improved. At first they wanted me to provide all the answers but after a few weeks they learned that it was a lot more fun to find the answers themselves.  Those of you using CASE know what I am talking about since that is very much the way CASE works. Our world is changing so fast that if our students can't think on their feet they will not succeed. If they don't learn that sometimes there really is more than one way to solve a problem they may fail to solve many future problems. Plus it is so cool to watch them figure out a problem on their own. Its ok to not have control ALL the time - its more than ok - I strongly recommend it.