Detailed Teaching Description
1. In class times I blend lecture and discussion formats. I present material using MacOS Keynote with clear visual queus that tie into main ideas. I use minimal text, but pause at times to work through an important passage of a thinker's work or secondary source readings for that week. I also sometimes use artworks and film clips as examples that can deepen engagement with an idea. My aim is to stoke curiosity, provoke deeper thought and generate more sophisticated articulations of student viewpoints.
2. Each class time is highly structured throughout and forecasted at the beginning. I typically start by outlining the day's topic and the aim of that week in the context of its fit within three or four week modules in a twelve week semester. The presentation material is available online as PDF before class times so students can follow along on their digital devices to take notes in apps such as OneNote. All class times are video recorded for online students with area microphones to capture discussions. Afterwards all students can easily jump to key parts of lecture video recordings to repeat aspects where they wished to spend more time.
3. In terms of assessment, each week's class time is designed to help students do well on particular assignments. At first year, I tend to assign quizzes at three week course module intervals to help students build up basic knowledge of the material. This is coupled with other written tasks to help students build confidence in their writing. Each course includes at least one self researched essay, coupled with a variety of other options such as: discussion boards; journal entries; wiki entries; peer assessments; film and book reviews; and kialo.com debates. There are typically between four and six assessments in a twelve week course to help foster engagement and a sense of progress. This structure also allows me to get in touch with students more quickly to receive feedback as well as suggest ways to improve.
4. For written tasks, I use criteria based rubrics that focus on skills such as interpretation, structure, use of sources, and written style. The latter criteria is never weighted more than ten percent. They enhance a student's own sense of criteria for skills they are working to build. It also makes it easy for markers to discuss results for team taught courses. In upper level courses I occasionally have students mark their own work for ten percent of the overall essay mark. This allows them to get started earlier and apply the criteria in a low stakes manner.
5. For reading materials, I assign texts available in our library's online collection so that students have access to it as part of their tuition without having to purchase text books. I provide further research support as examples they can pursue if they choose to write on that topic. Depending on the week, I assign a secondary chapter as well as a primary source. Both will be discussed in class and explained in lectures. For instance, in a week on Kant, students will read the chapter on Immanuel Kant in Graham Oppy's The History of Western Philosophy of Religion series, as well as Kant's "On a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns."
6. For the past seven years I have taught my courses in blended and online modes with equal positive feedback from students. Our university uses Blackboard as its learning management system. I use its early intervention tools to email students who have not engaged with the material in a week's time. I email after assessments have not been turned in to ensure adverse circumstances were not missed or a mistake made in a deadline. I email at the start and end of the course, before assessments are due and after they are marked. These emails are timed to coordinate with assessment tasks. The assessments are set up so that onlinne and face to face students can engage the material together.
7. I am available for office meeting times twice a week for one hour usually after a large first year course. I use a scheduling website youcanbook.me so that students can see and book easily from their phones or laptops. I also am available immediately after class for as long as students need to follow up on questions. Students can meet via phone call, Skype or in person.
8. Since arriving, none of the courses in my area have included attendance as a marked criteria. My approach has been to encourage students as best I can and use other means of incentivizing attendance by clealry connecting class times to student success in the course and their overall degree program goals.
9. As above, for busy part time students from a variety of programs, I try to provide flexible options for adverse circumstances that may occur. Late work is allowed as per our university's adverse circumstances policy structure. I require students to follow the university's procedures to to ensure that students feel that they can get an exception as well as that standards are fair for all students.