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Union University Center for Faculty Development
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Teaching & Advising > Getting Started - The First Week of Class

Predicting Success

This has become a favorite opening with task-oriented groups; it subtly informs participants of their responsibility for the session's outcome.

  1. Post the heading:  What has to happen for this course (or session) to be a success?

  2. Ask participants to call out descriptions of what they'd consider evidence of success.  Below are some  examples, recorded in such a way as to distinguish content from process issues.  If then numbers warrant it, ask people to form groups of five to six members and have each group complete a sheet.  Five minutes are probably enough.

    What Has to Happen for This Course to Be A Success:

    -Clear learning goals
    -Instructor shares her expertise
    -We tap participants' expertise
    -Regular progress checks
    -Up-to-date research data
    -Relevant to back-home needs
    -Everyone gets involved
    -We don't waste time
    -Students have a say on agenda
    -Short, focused lectures
    -Team Projects

  3. Post the sheets side-by-side and lead a brief discussion of the entries.  Explore how these expectations relate to the course agenda.
  4. Throughout the course, refer to the success statements to keep the group focused on their desired
    outcome.

Source:  Renner, Peter (1994). The Art of Teaching Adults: How to Become an Exceptional Instructor and Facilitator. Vancouver: Training Associates. (Can be found in the Emma Waters Summar Library in the Faculty Development Section - LC5219.R458)

"Who dares to teach must never cease to learn."
-John Cotton Dana (1856-1929)