Number 4, Vol. 8  | August 15, 2021

> The First Days of Class: Strategies for Success

As the summer semester is ending, planning and preparation for the fall semester is in full swing. 

For on-ground courses, there is excitement to be back on campus, working with our students and catching up with our colleagues. However, no matter the delivery mode (on-ground, virtual, or online live), I am sure everyone is experiencing a whirlwind of activity getting ready to welcome students back to class on that important first day. 

  • Have you considered how you will facilitate the first day of class?
  • How will you build rapport with your students?
  • Will you focus solely on introductions and class policies (i.e. syllabus and assessment review), or will you dive right into the content?
  • Do you have a specific icebreaker activity in mind?
  • How will you get students excited about the semester and content? 

These questions will likely give rise to a variety of approaches to ponder and plan. Instead of falling back on the same first-day strategies you have implemented in the past, perhaps consider a new approach as you plan and prepare for fall class kickoff.

A strong and well-planned "first day of class" supports student success. When sitting down to make your plan, consider the following as a roadmap to navigate that important first day:

  • Allow time for introductions (instructor and students)

  • Provide an overview of the course SLO’s

  • Detail pertinent program requirements/expectations

  • Outline how you will provide materials throughout the course (Canvas, during on-ground course sessions, etc.)

  • Provide expectations for class time (engagement, activities, assessments)

  • Detail expectations outside of class (group work, weekly pre-reading, etc.)

  • Outline instructor responsibilities

  • Discuss student responsibilities

  • Provide a detailed overview of assessment information and rubrics

  • Support students by discussing available resources (library, tutoring)

In addition, please click on this link to the CTE Research Guide for a variety of first day of class resources.

> Engage Students by Making Connections to Classes and Careers

Career Development Needs of First-Generation Students


As you are building your lessons for the upcoming semester, think back to the March newsletter, do you recall how it focused on Andragogy? As you may recollect, adult learners are ready to learn when they see immediate value in knowledge or skills, are responsive to intrinsic motivation, and have a distinct need for knowledge. Have you considered how you will build engagement opportunities and activities in your lessons that focus on making connections between classes and careers?

Even beyond the start of the course, you will need to undertake considerable planning and preparation to ensure strong, meaningful lessons throughout the semester. As you are planning for your upcoming course(s), some things to ask yourself as you build your lessons include the following:

 Am I consistently communicating and drawing connections between lessons, content and SLO’s with students?
 Do the connections extend beyond the course to include program connections?
 Are my transitions between topics and activities well planned and executed?
 How am I augmenting pre-loaded course content through the provision of relevant supplemental materials?
 Am I planning to implement a wide array of instructional strategies to engage students?
 What formative assessment strategies am I planning?

For some insight into intentional lesson planning, and to assist you in navigating the above questions, you can review the following recorded PD sessions from the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE):
Professional Development Sessions
> Faculty Perspective
Scott Sheedlo, adjunct English instructor for the Owosso Campus, shares his research findings on the use of video feedback through VidGrid. In his fascinating approach to feedback loops, readers will get the sense of how feedback influences teaching approaches and students' dialogue with instructors and each other. In the attached article, Scott has included examples and video tutorials on managing video feedback exchanges. If you have questions or comments on his article, please feel free to email him at

Scott will also be sharing his findings and perspectives on student feedback during the Baker College Virtual Faculty Conference slated for September 28 - 30th.
> Learning with the CTE Team
The CTE Team has designed professional development related to curriculum, assessment, and technology to support faculty growth and development. This month, we offer faculty an Open House style of PD with sessions on Zoom, VidGrid, and Canvas. Come with your questions to the Ask Me Anything sessions. 
Ask Me Anything: Zoom/VidGrid
Monday, August 16th @ 12 PM or 5 PM

Ask Me Anything: Canvas
Tuesday, August 17th @ 12 PM or 5 PM

Recordings Available on the CTE Research Guide

Visit the CTE PD Opportunities Calendar to view and register for
additional upcoming webinars.


The 2022-2023 faculty rankings application cycle will open
January 1, 2022, and close on June 1, 2022.
Health, Wellness & Teaching
Listen to the Podcast: Ethics at Work
> Podcast Summary & Resources
The return to work transition has impacted both employees and employers differently. this month, Faculty Developer Julia Keider talks with College of Business Program Director, Dr. Polly Bashore, to outline the ethics of work, particularly the dynamics of hybrid and work-from-home options. 
CTE Team Support
The Center for Teaching Excellence Team is working remotely and providing 1-to-1 and small group support for faculty. In many cases, campus Faculty Developers are available by phone, Google Hangouts Chat, and virtual conferences. Click here to find a CTE contact. 
The mission of the Center for Teaching Excellence is to create, identify, and provide support structures and processes to cultivate a professional learning environment where faculty take ownership and are positioned to direct their own professional learning relative to Baker's mission and institutional goals. We are a collaborative entity which partners institution-wide to design, develop, present, and facilitate professional development in order to support and coach faculty in their pursuit of quality teaching and learning.

Be brave. Be courageous. Be proud.  
Make your family proud. Make the world proud.

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