AT THE START of every academic term, I try to have more ducks in a row than the previous year. I know I'm better prepared than any previous autumn semester but there are rough edges that need to be smoothed out before our late students arrive at the end of September.
I'm trying to link my teaching and learning to an engagement metric--something I first started to understand while talking to my colleague, Mike Kiely. In my methods, the engagement starts with simple email correspondence that I write and monitor for open rates and click rates. From past experience, I know that some students need special communications channels (i.e., not e-mail) and because of that need they won't get auto-generated content from Moodle, our Virtual Learning Environment.
I don't want to pollute Facebook with snippets from my class material but to serve those students who do not quickly connect via e-mail, I run a dedicated process through Facebook Messenger and Google Chat. However, I turn those channels off between 5PM Friday and 7AM Monday.
The biggest takeaway of the summer for me involves OneNote and OneDrive. I discovered easy synchronicity with those two apps and now think I can collaborate faster while generating less digital flotsam. This is a big deal because it means I should be able to downsize my computer screen while simultaneously reducing the amount of time I spend on a laptop. There are both weight and time savings involved in this new work practise. The proof of concept lies in the semester ahead.
I've several other tactics worth sharing and hope to get feedback from colleagues as I explore ways to improve both my teaching results and students' academic performance.