Being a great teacher involves engaging with those who do it well. The following tips are condensed from the 2015 Exemplary Teaching Panel, which featured College of Veterinary Medicine faculty who earned recognition in 2015 as outstanding educators.
1. When planning a course, consider these three words: active, engaging and inspiring. The role of the educator is to transform students from learners to thinkers.
2. Encourage students to be the driving forces behind their own education or to be masters of the material.
3. Make information relevant to students. Case examples are incredibly important.
4. Break down the material and explain each component of a process. Use analogies to illustrate difficult concepts.
5. Connect theory to practice at all points in the curriculum. It’s not about memorizing every fact, but being able to apply those facts.
6. Use interactive experiences in the classroom to provide relief from didactic material and presentation slides.
7. Use Examsoft or Carmen as a way of collecting in-class group work assignments for grading. (One student member of the group records discussion and submits responses for the entire group.)
8. Counter the everyone-gets-a-medal-for-showing-up mindset of today’s students by setting high standards and clearly describing expectations of work ethic and performance.
9. Present students with opportunities to learn from experts or practitioners. Bring in speakers who are doing cutting edge work or provide students with links to resources from those experts (multimedia/published research studies).
10. Use technology to simulate cases and highlight application. Case Manager is an excellent resource for college faculty. The application can also be used to allow students to engage with simulations at their own pace.
11. Deemphasize the importance of grades and emphasize the importance of being a highly skilled veterinarian deeply committed to lifelong learning and professional development.
12. Use SETs to specifically examine how changes in course content or activities affect student learning (do targeted assessment).
13. Use technology to record video of students doing a particular task (like practicing surgical skills) and use those recordings to reinforce student learning or create the opportunity for self-assessment.
14. Understand the value of strategic repetition or reinforcement. If 30% of students aren’t able to complete a task, consider how to provide alternate methods of teaching or reinforcement.
15. Use faculty peer groups (feedback from colleagues) to help refine test questions, rubrics and assignments.
Panelists included (pictured from left to right): Li Wu, VBS professor, Charles C. Capen Teaching Excellence Award for Graduate Education; Julie Byron, VCS associate professor of internal medicine, Dean’s Award for Creativity in Teaching; Meghan Herron, VCS assistant professor of behavioral medicine, Charles W. Fox Family Teaching Excellence Award; and Tatiana Motta, VCS assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery, Zoetis Distinguished Teaching Award. (Not pictured: Teresa Burns, VCS assistant professor in equine field services, Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and the John Lyman Jr. Award for Clinical Teaching Excellence.)
To listen to the panel in its entirety, click: