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Collaboratory offers help to new faculty

February 01, 2008

How do you motivate students to read their textbooks? How do you get them to come to class on time? And how do you develop a grading system that’s neither too stringent nor too lax?

Seasoned teachers usually have worked through these problems after a few years in the classroom, but for new faculty these issues can be daunting.

That’s why the Center for Learning and Teaching Excellence has established the CLTE Collaboratory, a drop-in service to address the teaching issues that instructors face.

The collaboratory is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the CLTE offices, located in room 212 of Discovery Hall (formerly the Agriculture Building).

As the name implies, the service is a collaboration between faculty and the CLTE teaching consultants to address teaching issues facing instructors, says Karen L. Bossen, an instructional professional at CLTE.

“The service, which started last semester, is designed to assist instructors with strategies and class learning activities,” she says.
CLTE staff has offered such help in the past, but “this is the first time CLTE has been able to set a space aside for a drop-in center,” she says, adding: “We have a selection of best teaching practices.”

Newer teachers come with such issues as developing a syllabus, leading discussions in class and how to teach large classes with several hundred students.

Other faculty may need help with using technology to enhance teaching, Bossen says.

Bossen, who has taught therapeutic recreation and now teaches an education class online, says new teachers often stumble along “until they get burned” with issues such as student excuses and incompletes, and then they learn lessons the hard way.

“Faculty seem to enjoy having a place to research and practice a teaching strategy,” Bossen says.

So how do you persuade students to read the textbook?

“Hold them accountable,” she replies. “Give quizzes.”

The CLTE Collaboratory is open to faculty from all ASU campuses. For more information, call Bossen at (480) 965-3709.

For more information on teaching resources offered by CLTE, visit the Web site