Faculty Development

December 2018 Tuesday Tips

4 December 2018:

Given the unprecedented end-of-semester challenges from the Camp Fire, it’s ok to ask yourself “Do I really need to administer a traditional final exam?” If the answer is yes because it’s a required high-stakes exam for a certificate or a gateway exam to the next course in the sequence, then by all means, administer it. If, however, you plan to give a written final exam purely because that’s just what professors have always done, then consider a few possible alternatives for students to demonstrate their learning.

  • Ask students to apply what they’ve learned by connecting your course material to other classes they’ve had, or to the current social, economic, scientific, or political context
  • Enhance inclusivity by allowing students to develop some of the final exam questions or essay prompts
  • Have students present their work to each other in a poster session, portfolio reveal, gallery walk, or some other event

The university requires that classes meet at the designated time during finals week. I encourage you to explore innovative possibilities to make that a meaningful, worthwhile, and perhaps even enjoyable culminating experience for students. Provost Larson’s 11/30 e-mail noted that there may be exceptions to the required final exam policy(opens in new window), especially this semester, so you have some latitude to be intellectually creative with your assessments.

NOTE: The Grading Oasis in MLIB 459 (Rose Garden Room) will be open to you with hot coffee, tea, and snacks from 12/10 – 12/21, 8am-5pm.

Share your final exam idea on the FDEV blog(opens in new window).

10 December 2018:

An early Tuesday Tip to help...


Starting today, MLIB 459 will have free hot coffee, decaf, hot tea, snacks and fresh fruit for faculty (including T/TT and lecturers) from 8am-5pm Monday-Friday. Drop in at your leisure to grade, read, write, or do whatever you need to get done. We’ve updated the space with some new décor and the amazing view is always refreshing. Our student assistant, Ariana, may be available to assist with some grading as long as student names are not visible.

Best wishes to you for a smooth finish to the semester!

Fall 2018 Faculty Oasis, Monday–Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

18 December 2018:

“The Laundry of Teaching” – that’s what a colleague of mine once nicknamed the process of grading because as soon as you finish one pile, another one awaits. Grading may not be the most riveting of the professorial tasks, but here are a few strategies to make it more accurate and less time-consuming.

  • Give feedback using a speech-to-text dictation app or create an audio file of your verbal feedback using a mobile device and upload to Box for students.
  • To reduce grading bias on paper exams, fold the corner of the page to hide student’s names.
  • Only write exam questions that assess your course learning outcomes. The rest are likely unnecessary.
  • Grade with a rubric(opens in new window) for increased accuracy and consistency. This requires an investment of time up front to create the rubric but it will save you lots of time (and headaches) down the road.