Want an Easy Way to Keep in Touch With Students? Create a Course Newsletter

by Julie Candio

Do you remember what happened last Wednesday? No? Sometimes our students don’t either. And I don’t blame them.

While students can refer to the course syllabus, there may have been announcements mentioned during class that aren’t top of mind for them when they’re working full- or part-time jobs, taking care of their kids, off at a sports practice, or enjoying some much-needed downtime. This semester, my class meets only once each week. In order to stay connected outside of our time together, I decided to start sending a weekly newsletter. Here’s the first edition to use as a template.

Announcements

  • Our next class, we’re meeting in Linden Hall in Room 113B for our Information Literacy session. This is part of the makeshift library, while A Wing is undergoing construction. We’ll head to our classroom after that.
  • On the following Monday, September 23rd, I’m excited to share that we’ll have a guest speaker to kick off the class period. See the flyer below and attached. If you’d like to invite a friend to join us for the talk, please feel free to do so. We’ll just ask them to skedaddle before we proceed with the rest of class. I’m very excited for you to hear Zak’s story!

What’s Due

1.    Please review the Assignment Guidelines packet to see the date/topic of your scheduled presentation. The library session will be based around this assignment.

2.    Read Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” Everyman: A Morality Play, and Aesop’s select fables—all on Moodle under “Assigned Readings.” I recommend starting with Aesop.

3.    Complete Discussion Forum 1 no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday night. The forum closes at this time, so you’ll be unable to post after that. Why? Because we all need time to review the forum before Monday night’s class. As a reminder, you all agreed that you’d like everyone to post their initial response by Saturdays at 5 p.m., so you have time to read and comment on one another’s posts. You can earn up to 3 points per discussion forum (see the Assignment Guidelines packet). The area for submission in Moodle is under “Discussion Forums” and is labeled Discussion Forum 1 (9/16).

4.    I also recommend doing a couple additional things to set yourself up for success this semester: (1) Schedule your reading and discussion forum time into your regular weekly schedule, as if it’s a class. Write it down. Commit it to memory. Stick to it. (2) Decide within the next 2 weeks how you will fulfill your experiential learning component. If it’s a scheduled campus event, write it into your calendar.

One-Sentence Recap

If you were present during our first class, be sure that you submitted your in-class participation form on Google! After all, you’re grading your own participation. Each week, I’m going to select and share (anonymously) one person’s one-sentence key takeaway or AHA moment. Here’s this week’s:

“If somebody told me that I wasn’t a stairs person when I was learning how to walk I probably never would have tried walking up stairs.”

Why is this interesting to me? Yes, you should surround yourself with people who encourage you to continue learning and striving to do better, but we can’t forget that if we tell OURSELVES we’re not stairs people, that can deter us from learning how to walk up and down stairs. We need that internal voice within us to be telling us that we will succeed, despite any setbacks, if we put in the effort.

What I’m Thinking About This Week

I’m going to use this as a space where you can get to know me a little better. Just as you found things you have in common with your classmates during the icebreaker, I hope you find there are ways you can connect with me too.

So today, as I commuted into World Trade Center, I’m thinking about everyone whose lives were impacted by 9/11 and keeping them in my thoughts. Here’s a picture from this morning.

In Closing…

I am always available to support you. If you need accommodations, have questions, or just want to talk with someone, I’m here. I look forward to a great semester together!


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