At the start of each term we all have ideas about learning activities, assessments, grading structures, rubrics, and other aspects of how we are going to run (or at least manage) a course. At the end of a term we have seen how they have worked, how they didn't, and ideas for how to make them better. During finals week, for each class I take a half-hour to an hour and write a page or two on all the components of a course. This is a short example of what I started with for my Calculus III course:
|Calculus III Reflections notes.|
These are very rough notes. Some of these notes I would have probably edited for wider distribution ("... if you don't force them to!"). But this is what I wrote when I was trying to get these ideas on paper. And this is the point of this exercise, get your ideas on paper quickly before the term is over and you forget. I usually create these notes during my final exams, so I can see all my students and remember what worked and didn't work for them. It also helps me think of policies to include in the syllabus if there was a particular situation that arose with a student. I include these notes in the front of my course folder.
At the start of the next term, I open my course folder and the first thing I see is this list of do's and don'ts, and don't even think about it's. These notes have helped me start preparing for a course much more quickly. I can focus on what needs to be revised, updated, or created, instead of wondering what I did last time.
What do you do to at the end of each term to help yourself prepare for the next? Please share your experiences with me here on the blog, on LinkedIn, or Twitter.