Moving Forward: Teaching in Uncertain Times

Community Blog on online, hybrid, and F2F teaching during the pandemic

Documenting Student Success In and Out of the Classroom

The USG has now included a requirement for faculty evaluations to include documentation on how instructors support student success. You might already be doing this, or if you’re not you are probably doing more in your classes to promote student success than you realize! CETLOE defines student success activities as being evidence-based approaches that promote student learning and engagement. The list below is designed to help you recognize student success activities you might be using and to suggest some ways to include this work in your portfolio/dossier. 

  1. Using a learner or student-centered syllabus promotes student success. 
  • Learner-centered syllabi use positive language that describes the behaviors students need to adopt and display in order to be successful in your course(s). They frame what students need to do in order to succeed in a course instead of presenting everything in a penalizing way. They also include DEIR  language.
  • Highlight your learner-centered syllabus and language in your teaching portfolio.
  • Here are some learner-centered language resources:
    • CETLOE “Constructing a Syllabus” webpage and then click on and then “Crafting a Syllabus” tab:
    • A Learner-Centered Syllabus Helps Set the Tone for Learning (Faculty Focus article)
    • Constructing a Learner-Centered Syllabus: One Professor’s Journey (IDEA Paper).
  • There is a large body of research illustrating that learner-centered syllabi are especially important for the success and support of minority and first-generation students and first- and second-year students.
  1. Using TILTed assignments promotes student success. 
  • TILT (Transparency in Learning and Teaching) is a student-centered approach to making assignment guidelines and descriptions as clear and transparent as possible.
  • TILT is a learner-centered approach that has been adopted by GSU and the USG.  CETLOE offers TILT workshops and has TILT resources available.
  • Consider including your TILTed assignment descriptions in your teaching portfolio.
  • TILT Higher Ed is sponsored by the AAC&U See: https://tilthighered.com/
  1. Holding “office” hours promotes student success.
  • Be available for regularly scheduled office hours every week outside of your scheduled class time to answer student questions and meet with students one on one supports students success. 
  • You don’t need to even call this time office hours. In fact, many students, especially first generation or first-year students, don’t understand or are intimidated by the term . Consider calling your office hours something else like check-in hour or support sessions. 
  • An excellent student success approach to holding check-in hours is to select 3-4 times you’re available and then have your class vote on the time(s) during the first or second class session. By doing this you signal to your students that you want them to come and see you, you want them to ask questions, and you’re aware that their schedules are complicated.   
  1. Scaffolding big assignments promotes student success.
  1. Providing rubrics and targeted and timely feedback promotes student success
  • Rubrics make your job grading easier.
  • Rubrics make it easier for students to understand what is expected when they complete an assignment. 
  • The iCollege rubric tool makes it easier to add a rubric to your iCollege course.
  • The combination of a rubric plus timely and targeted feedback helps all students.
  1. Using High Impact Practices (HIPs)/EPIC promotes student success. 
  • HIPS are pedagogical approaches which require an investment of time and energy over an extended period of time and which have been demonstrated to have positive effects on student engagement. 
  • HIPs are evidence-based and have been widely tested and shown to be beneficial for college students. 
  • Characteristics of HIPs include: setting appropriately high expectations of students; interaction with faculty and peers about substantive matters; experiences with diversity; frequent feedback; reflection and integrative learning; real-world applications; and demonstrated competence.
    Traditional HIPS include: 

    • First Year Seminars and Experiences
    • Common Intellectual Experiences
    • Learning Communities
    • Writing Intensive Courses
    • Collaborative Assignments and Projects
    • Undergraduate Research
    • Diversity/Global Learning
    • Service Learning, Community-Based Learning
    • Internships
  • Capstone Courses and Projects.
  • However, GSU and others include additional HIPs, tagged as “Signature Experiences” such as (and then define each):
    • PBL
    • POGIL
    • Reacting to the Past
    • WAC (see below)
    • CUREs (course-based undergraduate research experiences)
    • And other discipling-specific practices as determined by your departments.
    • If you are teaching a HIP-based course, make sure to work with your college or departmental scheduler to have the class tagged as a Signature Experience course in Banner. 
    • If you are advising students in either independent or CURE-based undergraduate research encourage your students participate in the interdisciplinary GSURC (the Georgia State Undergraduate Research Conference) held every spring.
  1. Teaching a WAC (Writing Across the Curriculum) course promotes student success. 
  1. College to Career (QEP) classroom “awareness” and “demonstration” activities/assignments  promotes student success.
  1. The teaching strategies described in James Lang’s books Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learningand Small Teaching Online support student success. 
  • CETLOE offers Small Teaching workshops and resources
  1. Using Active Learning and Student Engagement Techniques in class support student success
  • Teaching beyond just lecturing to include:
    • class discussions
    • formative assessments
    • polling and interactive quizzes (PollEverywhere or Kahoot)
    • group work
    • Using class response systems such as Top Hat or iClicker
    • and other student engagement techniques such as  
      • minute papers 
      • Think/pair/shares
      • or any variations
  1. Using other evidence-based approaches either from the literature or your own SoTL research support student success
  2. Designing accessibly iCollege courses supports student success.
  3. Engaging in Regular and Substantive Interaction (RSI) in online courses supports student success.
  • RSI is defined by four key elements: 
  • the interaction should be initiated by instructor; 
  • the initiation of interaction must be regular and frequent; 
  • the interaction must be meaningful or of an academic nature; 
  • and the interaction must be initiated by academic personnel who meet accrediting body standards. 

14. Other activities you’re probably also doing:

  • Writing letters of recommendation
  • Mentoring students in research activities
  • Advising students in your major

Please share any of your “supporting student success” recommendations! 

lcarruth • November 9, 2021


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