Improving as an Instructor: Enhancing Your Own Educational Experience

This is it. This is the summer you will brush up on your teaching skills or your organization techniques. You know it will make your life easier and will improve the learning experiences of your students. But, where to start? If you prefer to go it alone with a good book or two on teaching, there are a myriad of books available. For example, the Adjunct Book Store web site http://www.adjunctprofessoronline.com/amazon_store?Keywords=adjunct%20faculty&SearchIndex=Books has handbooks for adjuncts and part-time instructors, books on teaching strategies and techniques, and guides for adjuncts who teach online. This web site has eight pages of books such as these.

Perhaps, you would like to participate in an online seminar or course. A web site called Adjunctopia has many training opportunities http://www.adjunctopia.com/training/ Offerings in the near future have such titles as “Approaches to Managing Communications Effectively in an Online course” and “Creating a Syllabus and Beyond,” with prices ranging from $45 to $99.

As a freeway flyer, you may have access to professional development offered through your different colleges. During the school year, you might have been too busy to pay much attention to this, let alone actually attend the classes or workshops, but you might have an easier schedule now. I have been tempted this week by some upcoming software classes in Dreamweaver and Moodle. There is a workshop called “Becoming a Champion of Change;” I don’t know exactly what that means in this case, but it sounds intriguing! Also, a couple of the colleges have fitness classes. This might be my chance, finally, to learn how to “Zumba.” Another college has everything from “Twitter Basics” to “Sexual Harassment Awareness Training.” If I have Saturdays free, I can attend classes at yet another college on “The Adult Learner,” “Active Teaching,” or “Plagiarism.” The nice part about using the facilities and opportunities offered by the schools at which you teach is that the price is usually right: free. Free is good, especially is you are in the process of paying for and squeezing in an occasional graduate course toward that terminal degree. Those classes are not cheap.

And, speaking of cheap, be wary of spending a lot on money on teaching manuals and seminars about which you know nothing other than what you have read online. You owe it to yourself (and your wallet) to check into them before you lay out that very hard earned cash.

Lastly, there are some excellent programs sponsored by colleges other than the ones where you are employed. Honolulu Community College has a list in their “Teaching Tips Index” that has dozens of interesting links: http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/teachtip.htm It is a delight. Then, there is Lower Columbia College with another impressive list called “Tips to Improve Your Teaching: http://lowercolumbia.edu/internal/faculty-resources/professional-development/tips_to_improve.htm This seems to demonstrate that there is a multitude of riches available for anyone with the desire to improve. It’s all there for you; you just need to take the time to check it out.

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