Faculty Idea Exchange from PDD by Katie McAfee Spring 2014


On Professional Development Day, Becky Miller-McGrath and I facilitated a Faculty Idea Exchange. Due to time constraints, we only covered the first two suggested topics, which I have summarized below.

What are Your Best Strategies to Get Students Involved in the Classroom?
• Some faculty use participation points. One faculty member mentioned deducting 2 points per class if a student does not attend or comes to class unprepared.
• Speak at the students’ level and relate course topics to the students’ lives. Use current topics.
• Use controlled humor.
• Use an activity at the beginning of class which builds on the assigned reading for the day.
• Ask provocative questions.
• Have students take responsibility for what happens in class. For example, have a small group responsible for explaining a reading or having students come up with a class activity.
• Require oral responses from students.
• In math classes, students work problems on the board.
• Use interesting activities to demonstrate the topics.
• Significant time was spent discussing group work. Faculty members seemed to indicate that they have more success with students completing group work during class time instead of outside of class. Due to work, family and class schedules, it is very hard for our students to meet outside of class. Additionally, it was suggested that grading include a group and individual component and that team members also complete group evaluations.
• Several faculty members mentioned breaking students into groups and then having students present (or basically teach) the material to the rest of the class. A problem was noted in that if students present incorrect information, the instructor must then go back and correct what was taught to the class incorrectly by the group.

What are your best strategies to get students to come to class prepared?
• Faculty members indicated mixed results with using pop quizzes.
• Possibly using pop quizzes for extra credit.
• Online quizzes which must be completed before covering the material in class. These quizzes would ensure that the students have at least read over the textbook before coming to class.
• Using randomized quiz questions in Blackboard which can be completed over and over and are kept open all semester.
• Randomly calling on students.
Thanks to all faculty and staff who participated!

Letting the Students Lead by Amy Getty

The joy of discussion as a class activity is starting it up and seeing where it goes. Although some of the same themes come up in every discussion, how they emerge and the connections they raise vary as much as the individual students do. On a great discussion day, the talk flows freely in interesting and unexpected directions, much like jazz (Getty, 2014)


Faculty Idea Exchange Spring 2013 by Jennie O’Malley .

Summary – Faculty Idea Exchange Spring 2013 Professional Development Day

In the Spring of 2013, Nancy Derrig and I hosted a Faculty Idea Exchange on Professional Development Day.  As we approach this day again for the coming Spring, I thought it would be nice to share the thoughts and ideas that materialized from our group discussion.  Another idea exchange will be hosted at our next Professional Development Day, March 25.  If you have any ideas on topics for that discussion, please email me and I will bring them forward (Jennifer.O’Malley@llcc.edu).

Here is a summary from our session:

1.       Is there anything preventing students from being successful in your courses?

·         Time management issues

·         Lack of preparation and motivation

·         Lack of aptitude

·         “Why and I here”: Lack of direction/purpose

·         Feeling of entitlement

·         Home problems/outside distractions

·         Language barriers for ESL students

·         Poor study skills/habits

·         Problems applying information and thinking critically

2.       Identify a strategy to address an issue preventing student success.

·         Enthusiastic lectures with various media and “real life” applications

·         Provide choices on course deadlines/assignments to foster a sense of ownership

·         Form student cohorts to receive tutoring/support as a group

·         Provide positive feedback

·         Provide immediate feedback

·         Exam reflections

·         Clear expectations at the start of the semester

·         Early interventions/mandatory interventions

3.       How could you determine whether a strategy implemented to improve student success was effective?

·         Assessment with scientific approach: control vs. experimental group, changing 1 thing at a time

·         Testing

·         Observation of student engagement

·         Obtaining student feedback

HELP! By Beth Wiediger


Just another typical day at work, you know the typical ritual of answering emails, talking to students and teaching, or so I thought.   Ten minutes into my last class of the day, a female student who was seated at her desk turned towards the floor to get the books she had dropped, however she never came back up.  She had passed out in class, right there right then.  So what?  That has happened before to many of us, students pass out for many different reason in many different classes.  But this one student in my class today did not surprise me at all when she passed out.  See, this female student has been dealing with eating disorders for about 7 years and what is even worse is the fact that she is only 17yo.

I had noticed her facial expressions when we talked about certain topics in class, and even when she walked out of class when we were watching a video about anorexia.  I knew that she was struggling with the “horrible” thought of being fat; however I had no idea of how much suffering she was going through.

Why does this bother me so much????  Why does it devastate me so much????

Four days ago, as I was driving my 6yo daughter back home after her indoor soccer practice, she said she was hungry.  I opened my purse and I handed her a small bag of chips because that was the only thing that I had at the time.  She got excited and after a few minutes of eating the chips she handed me the bag and said:

“Here mommy, I am done, I don’t want to eat all of it because I don’t want to be fat”

What????  My baby, my daughter, my 6yo daughter is hungry and doesn’t want to eat because she is afraid of being fat!!!  All of a sudden I felt angry and replied, “Mel you don’t need to worry about that!”  Yes I was angry! I was very angry that my baby was already afraid of being fat, that she was already concerned about not eating too much, that she was already worried about what she looks like, but most of all, I was pissed for the fact that she is only 6 and this worry should not be anywhere close to her head right now!  Soon that anger turned into sadness and fear.

Then very calmly I said, “Mel honey, you just played soccer and you are hungry, it is ok to eat!”  What she said next was even more shocking to me: “but mom when I move my legs it jiggles,” while pointing to her inner thighs, “do your legs jiggle too when you move?”  “Oh yea Mel, my legs jiggle too, everyone’s leg jiggles.”  “But Mel, why are you thinking about that?” I asked.   “I don’t know mommy, I just see people and I don’t want to be fat.”

I didn’t know what else to say, do I make it a big deal and keep asking questions?  Do I talk about it as a matter of fact?  What do I do????  “Mel you need to eat to grow, to have strong muscles, to be able to learn at school, to be able to play sports and not be tired, you need to eat to be healthy.”  And that was the end of the conversation.

So, today I come to work and have my 17yo student pass out in class because of her eating disorder and now I am more than afraid, I am terrified by the idea that my child may be its next victim.

I am writing this post asking for support, advice, ideas, anything to help me figure out what to do now to prevent her from being that 17yo girl.  Can I do something?  Anything?  Can WE do something about it????