Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcoming Students and Making that Personal Connection

Good morning and welcome to 2013 and a new quarter! 

This quarter in my blog I will be posting best practices from some of the "best of the best" of our instructors so that we can all learn from one another.  If you have something you do that works great in your class(es) please let me know as I'd love to share with the rest of the faculty too!

With it being the start of a new quarter, I want to share with you a great strategy Catherine Neset has used in her classes during Unit 1.  During Unit 1's discussion, Catherine responds to each student's initial post and personally welcomes each student to the course, which I know many of you also do, which is great!  It is a great way to extend that personal touch right from the start. 

What Catherine also does during this process that I'd like to highlight is she jots down notes for each student based on what he/she has communicated in that discussion thread.  Those notes help Catherine connect individually with each student and to the class as a whole throughout the quarter.  This process has benefited her students greatly!  Here is a great example of how:
"A few quarters ago, I had about 1/3 of my bankruptcy class that were already employed and working in a creditor-type job.  Some worked for collections, some worked in mortgages, some worked in billing in a business.  The bankruptcy syllabus and course is designed from a debtor point of view.  Knowing that a chunk of the class needed a creditor perspective to benefit their employment, I was able to find examples and post additional resources to meet that need.  Personally, my background is on the creditor side of the equation, so I had fun with this."

This great example shows how connecting with our students from day one can really help to shape the success of the class as a whole!  I encourage you to give this technique a try and let me know how it goes!

Once again, welcome to a new quarter.

Heather Thomton-Stockman 

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