While we focus mostly on the book "What the Best College Teachers Do", we spend a considerable amount of time just talking shop about teaching. One of the graduate students has had a lot of experience teaching an online class, and it's so fascinating hearing him talk about the unique pedagogical challenges he faces. Since that seems to be the future of undergraduate teaching, it's important that I start thinking about how my in-classroom tactics will translate into an online setting. Another graduate student teaches software. I could see myself teaching a class with a research aspect, and having to introduce students to a program like R, Stata, or SPSS. Hearing about her experiences with teaching software has really made me think about how I would structure lessons, homework assignments, and final projects for such a class. Anyways, I have absolutely loved this reading group, and I will genuinely miss our Monday mornings in BIF.
This week I'm planning on implementing the changes students requested in my Informal Early Feedback. I am curious - how do other TA's and instructors share these results with their students? Do they share these results at all, or just make the changes without fanfare? My instinct is to be explicit about the fact that you've read their comments, have thought deeply about them, and are willing to change aspects of a course to better-fit their needs and expectations. But is that too raw, too "open"? What is the pedagogical benefit here?
What about when you get comments about your personality and delivery style? For example, if students comments "you seem nervous", is it okay to say "yeah, I am nervous, but I'm nervous because I care. And because I care, I spend a lot of time preparing for this section, which I hope comes through in spite of my nervousness"? I feel like there's a way to express that sentiment without coming off as defensive, but I wouldn't trust myself to do it if I got comments like that. I say, best to just address the things you can change fairly easily (e.g. more time spent on the readings, more group work), and try to covertly adjust the things that are a bit harder to change (e.g. coming across as intimidating, nervousness). That's at least the way I've operated in the past.
What are your thoughts, Internet?