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Certificate in the Foundations of College Instruction - Course Comments GC 594

  • Dr. Coumbe-Lilley is an exceptional instructor, and being in the room to witness his teaching methods complimented the coursework by providing an example. We discussed how particular aspects of these methods could be utilized in our own work.|This course was intensely reflective, so while the workload felt relatively light for a graduate level course, the challenge was an intellectual, rather than temporal. This practicum allow me to think critically about my own teaching and assess whether or not I could make changes to improve my effectiveness.

    On occasion, Dr. Coumbe-Lilley placed the reins into the hands of overworked, overtired grad students to drive the course forward. While appreciate the team approach this class undertook, our energy simply didn't permit self-directed investigations... we needed to be told what to do. Dr. Coumbe-Lilley reacted rather quickly in response to this need and steered the course in a more productive direction for the last few weeks. I couldn't say if this sort of shift would be necessary with every group of grad students, but JC-L realized that while teaching is a big and important part of what we do, we are all just trying to keep our head above water, and despite good intentions, may he may require a more direct approach in terms of managing his expectations of us.
    (PhD student – Kinesiology and Nutrition)

  • The best parts of the course had to do with the conversations that took place in smaller groups. I learned a lot informally by just speaking with my colleagues in the class who were in different disciplines. They were able to provide me with insight that I would otherwise have no or little access to. I also enjoyed the readings. They were not heavy, and when they were assigned in class, that was also convenient because it would have been difficult to do the readings before class.

    Some of the assignments were great - the observations and reporting on them was a good idea. It may be helpful to force students to observe each other so that everyone gets a chance of being observed. That is sometimes the scariest part of teaching, being observed, so if anything can be done to help us practice that experience that might be good. The reflections are always useful, and going back to read them is a valuable procedure that will no doubt be helpful for future teaching assignments. Having Lilian Gorman and Theresa Christenson present was really useful, especially to hear about someone who has experienced the job market successfully in another discipline.
    (PhD student – Philosophy)

  • The in-class time spent working on lesson plans was extremely helpful.  It was beneficial to be able to have a product at the end of a session that I could use the next week.  It was also helpful because I could confer with my peers in the class regarding my ideas and any sticking points I had. I also appreciated the weekly reflections - it was an opportunity to process the week and understand what contributed to the successes and challenges.

    I liked the idea of assessing/observing my peer's in their teaching roles.  Yet, my experience with my peer's was not as helpful as I would have wanted in this activity.  In many cases it seemed that on the outside peers said they were wanting to be observed, but when it came to discussing their activities within a class, they were not ready to hear an outsider’s perspective.  I found it created a rift between certain peers and was counter to the culture groups were trying to build.

    I would like to see more in-class project work.  Where lesson plans could be created and if possible, implemented.   Perhaps use the course to create future courses we would teach as professors - this would be something we could add to our teaching portfolios and use at job interviews.
    (MS student - Kinesiology)

  • GC 594 was a really enjoyable and an insightful course. I enjoyed how myself and my peers were able to consider aspects of our teaching methods we never considered before. Hearing and sharing aspects of our teaching struggles and strategies really helped me to develop my skills as an instructor at the undergraduate level.

    I think that the course should have more deliberate and literal goals for each week. Often times the topics and goals seemed to blend into one another. It would beneficial to address a single or a couple of related concerns each week. I think this would help the course to say better on track.
    (MS student – Rehabilitation Sciences)

  • The reading materials of the course were well considered for a practicum in that the articles and books provided us with numerous options and thoughts for improving our instruction of students from macro elements like student-centered instruction theoretically to very practical and implementable ideas for student engagement.  Furthermore, this approach was nicely consistent in a number of ways with what we expect from disciplinary scholarship in that it represents teaching best practices as determined by experiential and theoretical research.

    I also appreciated that much of our work required us to reflect on our methods of instruction and their success, as oftentimes I would do this even apart from this practicum but not in a way that generally had the impact that being asked to formalize them (in a way) did.

    I think in general the activities were good, but I would like to perhaps use the assigned books more (like we did in the second portion of the course).  I would also like to have some classroom assessment techniques perhaps detailed and/or practiced in the course, especially some of the less common ones.
    (MA student – Communication)

  • The course did a great job of addressing classroom issues as they emerged and of being responsive to our changing needs as instructors. Dr. Coumbe-Lilley also provided us with a great deal of techniques and resources that we could draw on in the class and beyond as we each faced our unique challenges. While I already felt confident in my teaching abilities, the class expanded my teaching “tool kit” and helped me to more closely inspect some of the practices and techniques I have been using.

    My first comment here has less to do with Dr. Coumbe-Lilley’s facilitation of the class, then with the overall structure of the class in relation to our home departments. A significant challenge this semester was a lack of investment and encouragement from our home departments. This class would have been both easier to attend to and more beneficial overall if it were coordinated in some way with the teaching positions most of us hold in our departments. For example, it would be a huge help if our departments were required to conduct teaching observations of those students registered in GC 594.

    In regards to those aspects of the class actually within Dr. Coumbe-Lilley’s control, it would be helpful if all submitted material better aligned with the material we are preparing for the class we are teaching. My teaching style requires extensive creation of handouts and other written material, but most of what we submitted for class did not address these work products. While I appreciate the emphasis on our teaching portfolios, a little bit more emphasis on more immediate work products would be helpful.

    Finally, I just want to thank you for recognizing the importance of developing strong teaching skills and for supporting this program. Every opportunity to become better educators is greatly appreciated!
    (PhD student – Anthropology)

  • Taking GC594 has been a wonderful worthwhile experience. I am currently a Teaching Assistant and this course definitely gave me confidence and helped me be better prepared for my own duties/tasks as an instructor. By taking the course, I was introduced to a new perspective of teaching which involved methods and resources which have been backed up by literature. The only thing I would have changed is adding more discussions related to the content presented in our textbooks and their applications. Overall though, I am satisfied with all the knowledge and perspective I have gained.
    (MS student – Kinesiology)

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