Contract and Employment Questions

Well, we have arrived at the last instructor standard of "Seek Development Opportunities." We appreciate all the comments and ideas that have been shared about the previous four standards - both in the initial posts and the comments that followed. We hope this has been a beneficial experience.

This standard is perhaps similar to the last one in that it may not be quite as obvious as the first three in terms of what you can do to meet it. Below are some ideas that some of our instructors shared. I like that they highlight both the need to grow in our role as online instructors as well as in our respective disciplines. 

You will also notice that this is a shorter list than the others, so please help it grow by sharing your own ideas on thoughts. Thanks!

Seek Development Opportunities

"Increase proficiency in respective discipline, in teaching practice, and in mastering course tools"

  • Watch university conference broadcasts, attend seminars, and read books to incorporate in lessons.

  • Attend or Watch the Online Learning Conference!
  • Ask questions!

  • Create video presentations for students to go along with curriculum each week.

  • Read BYU-Idaho weekly updates.

  • Keep help notes for yourself of things you learn about your subject in everyday life.

  • Participate in opportunities for additional training - attend teaching group meetings, devotional, and the brown bags.  Share insights with peers in the community.

  • Strengthen professional ties within your discipline, attend or read the proceedings of professional conferences.

  • Observe ways to improve curriculum in your course.

  • Continue your own education.

  • Rely on more seasoned colleagues and TGLs for suggestions and ideas. 

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Replies

  • Thank you, Kimball, for your great reminders and explanations on examples of what each standard means and how we can fulfill the standards.

  • I've delayed my response to this thread so far, but I just wanted to share how much I love this list. I think this standard is the most misunderstood of them all. Many of these things we are doing naturally each day as we come to master the I-learn tools and hone in our best teaching practices overall.

    We each had an opportunity to review mid-semester student feedback; I received a few great suggestions from my students by way of how I could improve my approach in the classroom. I've taken time to consider those valid suggestions and adjust some of my practices as a result. For one example, a student suggested my emails were a little long; this prompted me to review the BLUF Strategy shared here in our community earlier in the semester. I also received a few course improvement ideas from my students and promptly passed them along to my OCR

    Maybe some of you aren't comfortable sharing the specifics of your student evaluations, but I would love for each of us to consider: Did you use your student feedback to adjust your teaching strategies? Did you pass on the course improvement suggestions to your OCR? If so, you are meeting this standard! 

    • I agree that student evaluations can be helpful to improve as a teacher.

       

      . always have to read comments in student evaluations with a grain of salt and realize that we can't please everyone. I once had a student indicate that he didn't like online discussion boards--even though online discussion boards are a fundamental part of online learning.

       

      I like that BYU-Idaho has both a mid-semester student survey and an end of semester student survey. One thing that I have tried to implement is to be a little more personal with students in my classes and share more personal information with students. For example, this semester, I shared some photos of a pinewood derby car that I build with my class. I think this helps students know that we are real people.

    • Thanks for this reminder on BLUF strategy, Torri. I missed that training tip before, but I think I will try putting it to use.

    • Great ideas Torri. I agree that students evals can be a great source of ideas for professional development and improvement as a teacher. When taken in the right spirit they truly are a teaching tool!

  • Thank you, Kimball, for the installment series!  It helps to more accurately rate ourselves without being too prideful or too self-depricating.

    • Glad they have been helpful David! I know that they have helped me!

  • As with the other instructor standards, I believe there are a multitude of ways to approach the area and reach high outcomes. Many are simple. Simple is good. Simple is doable. I hope we are providing ample ways to accomplish the standard of professional development, either through webinars, conferences, or just implementing ideas from colleagues in teaching groups. Please let us know if you have other ideas for how we can better provide professional development opportunities to our instructors.

  • Love this!  Thanks so much!

  • In my course council, we have often discussed and researched topics together in our meetings.  It's been so helpful for me to learn from those who have more knowledge and experience than I do.  This also helps be sure that we're presenting correct and uniform information across our various sections, especially for more controversial topics.

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