Office: NF 230B

Phone: 481-6558


Office Hours: MWF 11:00 - noon and by appt

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COM 502 Methods of Teaching Communication
Fall, 10

Dr. Marcia D. Dixson









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Marlowe, B. A. & Canestrari, A. S. (Eds.) (2006). Educational psychology in context: Readings for future teachers. London: Sage.

Palmer, P. (1997). The courage to teach. San Francisco:Jossey-Bass.

Course objectives:

Students will:

1) decide what it means to teach;

2) be able to make informed decisions about teaching choices;

3) be able to evaluate teaching choices/behavoirs.

Teaching Philosophy:

My job here is to facilitate your learning: to provide you with a variety of opportunities to learn the content of this course. This means I do my best to structure a course that makes sense to you and gives you opportunities to learn, apply, analyze and evaluate the concepts. I do not tell you what or how to think, just to stimulate and stretch your abilities to do that thinking. To that end, I am generally willing to work with any student who is willing to work as well. But, I expect you to work. If you do your part; i.e., read and consider the material, be prepared for class and complete assignments thoroughly and on time, I absolutely enjoy doing my part. If you have questions or concerns about the class, assignments or content, you should consult with me about those either in person or via email. My services as a facilitator and guide come with the tuition you paid for the course, do not be shy about using them!

Class policies:

Late work: While I do accept late work, each day (including weekends) late is subject to up to 20% reduction in points (which means after five days, you have pretty much earned a 0). If you are having a technical problem, have questions about the assignment, or are having other issues which make it difficult for you to complete the assignment on time, always let me know before the assignment is due. Plan for technological obstacles, i.e, if your computer or internet at home goes down, what can you do (get to campus, go to a library etc.). As is stated elsewhere, waiting until the last minute, almost assures you will have technical problems!

Papers: Expectations for papers regarding length, content etc. are generally spelled out. Be sure your papers are typed, double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins, and have a cover page. Maximum pages limits are meaningful, I quit reading at the max, so please pay attention to these.

My availability: I check my email multiple times a day during the week. I check it once or twice on Saturday. I do not do email on Sunday as that is reserved for family, football and, having some down time. So, you can expect me to get back to you fairly quickly, but not necessarily within a half hour or so. Remember, you can also call me in the office during office hours.

Civility expectations: While you are not required to agree with everyone's opinions, you are required to respect them in class (including, email, blogs, discussion forums etc.). However, because you have an opinion, does not mean it is a valid opinion! Back up your statements with facts, direct experiences, concepts from the text, etc.

Academic Misconduct : Academic Misconduct, including plagiarism (using other people's ideas/words and not giving them credit thus implying the work is your own original work), is taken very seriously at any learning institution. It is taken very seriously in this class. Please be aware of what academic misconduct is and the potential consequences (including dismissal from the university) of such behavior.

Helpful places on campus:

Services for Students with a Disability: If you have a disability or acquire one and want to find out about what special services and accommodations are available, you may contact Services for Students with Disabilities in WALB 113.
Writing Center: Can help you with general writing problems or specific assignments (including APA research papers) in KT G19.
CASA (Center for Academic Support and Advancement): Offers many kinds of services to students including tutoring in KT G23.
Helmke Library offers research librarians who can help you find what you need.

Major Assignments (see due dates in agenda):

  • 40% Teaching Portfolio includes:
    • A semester syllabus and put it on the web with requirements, due dates, grading policies, course objectives: this should be a complete syllabus that you could use, remember this should be treated like a contract with your students. It is also the first impression students get of you and your course.
    • A unit plan within that syllabus with specific exercises and requirements: this should include activities, objectives, an assessment of the objectives of your unit plan with a table of specifications, and two assignments with their grading rubrics .
    • A lesson within your unit: this is what you teach from and should include objectives for that day, outline of content, activity, lecture etc. You are required to include a CAT with your lesson.
    • Self reflective essay on teaching performance: Evaluate a videotaped lesson (of yourself) for strengths, weaknesses and suggestions for improvement (two pages);
    • Teaching philosophy statement (1-2 pages).
  • 20% Two Observation Papers:
    • Observe one other instructor regarding teaching methods chosen. Write a 1-2 page evaluation of how well the instructor met the objectives he/she was trying to meet for that class period given the teaching he/she decided to use.
    • Observe one other instructor regarding the classroom climate that has developed in his/her classroom. Is it productive to learning? If so, why and what elements contribute to that. If not, why not? 1-2 pages.
  • 30% Three Team Teaching Exercises (more information to follow)
    • Understanding learning:
      • Present your assigned learning theory: operant conditioning (Chapter 5 and readings); social learning theory (Chapter 6 and readings); constructivist theories (Chapter 7 and readings). For each theory focus on two areas: 1) What are the primary concepts used to explain learning in this theory? and 2) How can this inform our teaching?
    • Teaching a teaching method:
      • Present your assigned teaching method: whole class discussion, small group discussion, or problem-based learning. For each method present: 1) when this method is effective (when/why should we use it); 2) tips for doing it effectively; 3) things to avoid. You must teach your method using your method.
    • Classroom climate:
      • Present your assigned part of classroom climate: motivation, classroom management, student-teacher rapport. For each talk about: 1) what it is, 2) why it is important, and 3) how we can do it well (i.e., motivate, manage, or develop appropriate student-teacher relationships). 30 - 45 minutes.
  • 10% In-class Participation:
    • A good deal of what you will learn in this class will be from scholarly discussion with your peers. Therefore, attendance is important to your learning. Be here, be prepared, contribute! We will do small group exercises as well as whole class discussions. Points for these may be awarded based on completion. It is very difficult to obtain group points by yourself, making class attendance important to your grade as well.

Grading breakdown:

    90 - 93% A-
    94 - 100% A
    80 - 82% B-
    83 - 86% B
    87 - 89% B+
    70 - 72% C-
    73 - 76% C
    77 - 79% C+
    60 - 62% D-
    63 - 66%; D
    67 - 69% D+
    0 - 59% F





    Tentative agenda

    8/27: What is teaching anyway? Orientation. Meet your groups; Make a plan for next week's presentations

    9/3: Unit One: How does learning work? Chapters 5 - 7 and readings: Understanding learning teaching exercises due

    9/10: Unit Two: How do I choose a teaching method to help students learn? Chapter 2 and readings

    9/17: Unit Two continues: Teaching a teaching methods teaching exercises due

    9/24: Unit Three: How do I design effective learning sessions/units/semesters? Chapter 1 and readings on Syllabus, unit plans, and lesson plans. Rubric shell.

    10/1: Unit Three continues: Teaching method observation papers due; Syllabus, unit, and lesson due for peer review (note: assessment activities are to be considered but not finalized for these at this time).

    10/8 & 10/15: Teach your lessons

    10/22 Unit Four: How do I know if learning has occurred? Questions to consider and assignments for chapters 21 - 24 and readings

    10/29: Unit Four continues - Assessment due for peer review: Assessment of unit with table of specifications, two assignments with grading rubrics, and CAT for lesson plan.

    11/5: Let's look at portfolios! Self-reflective essay of lessons taught due. Talk about classroom climate team teaching exercises

    11/12 Unit Five: Work on classroom climate team teaching exercises

    11/ 19: Unit Five:How do I create a productive learning environment? Classroom management: Chapter 3, web sources and readings in Blackboard; Student-teacher rapport: Chapter 13, web sources and readings in Blackboard; and Motivation: Chapters 17 - 20, web sources and readings in Blackboard: Classroom climate team teaching exercises due

    11/26 No class: Thanksgiving Break

    12/3: Unit Six: What is my job as a teacher anyway? Parker Palmer Chapters 1 - 3: Observation of classroom climate paper due.

    12/10: Unit Six continues: Parker Palmer Chapters 4 - 7

    12/13 (Monday): 10:30 - 12:30 Final - Portfolios Due including teaching philosophy statement