Follow Me Friday

At this point in the week, you’ve been introduced to all of us who will be bringing you the CAPE@VC blog each week. I am the fourth and final specialist who will be posting every Friday. My name is Deb Butler, and I am the Curriculum and Instruction Design Specialist, which means that my area of expertise is in curriculum development and instructional techniques. And, while I truly love this part of my job, there’s something that I love even more – learning. This is what I hope to share with you each week – the joy and excitement of trying something new, of researching and expanding one’s horizons, of re-energizing oneself and one’s teaching.

I recently finished my doctoral dissertation and, at first, I felt a little lost. I felt directionless and adrift = waiting on the next wave to push me into a new adventure. It didn’t take long (but more on that in a future post). This blog, for me, is a way to share both what I know and what I learn as I continue along the path of lifelong learning. Today, I would like to share two of my favorite learning tools with you – one that I’ve known and used for a while and one that I’ve only been using for a month.

One of the most helpful sites I’ve found online is www.facultyfocus.com. This newsletter is published by Magna Publications and contains higher education teaching strategies. It publishes articles from faculty members who share their teaching strategies, their research, and their successes. You can visit their website and browse the articles by topic, or you can sign up for their free newsletter. Simply visit the website and sign up with your name and email address. You will receive the newest article in your email to read or delete as you see fit.

I admit, I delete more than I read. However, whenever I need to know about a topic – such as self-regulation strategies – I find myself going to Faculty Focus first to see what other instructors have said about the topic. The articles are usually one or two pages in length, so they are quick reads and give the highlights of the topic. Additionally, the references at the end usually lead to longer articles or books with more in-depth material on the subject which I can explore at my leisure. Recent articles include “What Kind of Feedback Helps Students Who are Doing Poorly?,” “Three Tools for Supporting Student Success,” and “What Fitness Bands Can Teach Us about Classroom Assessment” which is currently on my personal reading list.

The second item is very new. I discovered it this summer, and it actually came to me in a Faculty Focus email. It’s the Teaching Professor Tips App, which is also from Magna Publications (no, this is not a sponsored Magna post, but maybe it should be!). You can find it for Android on Google Play and for Apple devices at the App Store in iTunes. It’s a free download, and you get a daily teaching tip 365 days a year. I was a little skeptical because I thought that my phone would be constantly buzzing with notifications if I downloaded the App.   So, I turned the notifications off, and it’s not annoying at all. I check the app each day at my convenience and read the daily tip. I can also view the previous five tips. See the screenshot below for recent tips:

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Sometimes the only thing that I need to re-energize my classes and myself is a fresh idea. The Faculty Focus newsletter and the Teaching Professor Tips App provide me with these ideas when I need them. What do you think? Have any of you tried the Faculty Focus newsletter or the App?

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